Digital mapping tool to curb encroachment issues DANC, Fort Drum add element to area’s GIS portals for land use

A sign on Route 11 northbound welcomes people to the main entrance of Fort Drum. Watertown Daily Times

FORT DRUM — Local officials and planners will have a better understanding of how to make land use decisions so they won’t impact Fort Drum now that the Development Authority of the North County, in collaboration with Fort Drum and surrounding communities, has launched a new tool to promote better communication between the partners.

The Fort Drum Compatibility Query Tool helps identify potential encroachment issues that could impact Fort Drum’s mission, DANC officials said.

The GIS, geographic information system, tool is available in the Fort Drum Compatibility Internet Mapping Application, as well as in DANC’s public internet mapping portals for Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

“It helps officials and developers be able to understand encroachment issues in surrounding communities,” said Michelle Capone, DANC director of regional development.

The query tool was developed “so that everyone is on the same page,” she said.

It identifies multiple layers of parcel data, including zoning, infrastructure and relevant military data, as well as Fort Drum’s training areas, ranges, air accident zones and airspace information. Proposed wind and solar projects in the three counties are also identified on the maps.

The query tool should be used for preliminary evaluations and outreach efforts; it does not constitute an informal or formal review.

The new tool was recommended in a Joint Land Use Study completed by DANC a few years ago. As part of those efforts, a website was developed as a centralized location for information about Fort Drum to help nearby communities make land use decisions.

In recent years, there have been concerns about how large wind projects could impact the operation and mission of Fort Drum’s Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.

Representatives from all three counties and Fort Drum participated in the development of the query tool, which was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation.

The Joint Land Use Study made recommendations to improve communications between Fort Drum and the surrounding communities in order to address potential land use encroachment.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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