The Cobb Board of Commissioners on April 22 unanimously approved paying $216,610 to Matrix Design Group, which has an office on Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta, to complete the study. About $195,800 is being funded from a grant through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment, with another $21,756 being contributed by Cobb.
It’s all being done at the request of the Air Force Reserve Command in hopes to accomplish “reduced and improved” land use in airfield clear zones and address encroachment issues, Lt. Col. James Wilson said in December when the county approved pursuing the study.
The county also recently updated its zoning ordinance to reflect Air Installation Compatible Use Zone recommendations.
Cobb will work alongside the cities of Marietta and Smyrna, which border the base, to determine if the land use zoning categories nearby are “harmonious or compatible” with the base.
“Dobbins is just an incredible asset to the county not only as a great neighbor and they do wonderful things for the county, but they also really are kind of an economic driver and just important to economic development purposes,” said Rob Hosack, director of Cobb Community Development Agency.
Analyses of the land uses in a 2-mile radius will be completed, said Dana Johnson, deputy director of the development agency, and the study is expected to take between eight and 10 months to complete. Public meetings will take place, he said, but none have been scheduled yet.
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin previously told the MDJ communication between the base and local government is paramount and could mean the difference in keeping Dobbins if hearings are conducted by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, which has a role in determining if certain military bases are still needed.
“We’d be mortified if they closed Dobbins, so by having a good working relationship with them, it helps the next time the BRAC comes along,” Tumlin told the MDJ.
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) has said BRAC hearings could take place as early as 2017.