Legislation recently passed by both chambers of the General Assembly will ensure that tall buildings near military bases won’t interfere with training, readiness, and operations. House Bill 433 limits the construction or expansion of buildings that are at least 200 feet tall and are within five miles of a major military installation.
The U.S. military maintains combat readiness through intensive training on the ground and in the air; incompatible use of nearby land can both limit the time that training ranges are available and the types of training that can occur. This new law will help our military forces gain unfettered access to airspace and coastal areas and protect them from unwanted radio frequency encroachment.
Developers seeking to construct tall buildings near military bases must comply with the following new requirements:
- Obtain the permission of the state’s Building Code Council;
- Formally notify the commanding officer of the nearby base that permission to exceed these restrictions has been sought;
- Obtain from the commanding officer a detailed description of possible adverse effects, including frequency disturbances and physical obstructions (such as interference with air navigation routes, air traffic control areas, military training routes, or radar); and
- Obtain the Federal Aviation Administration’s assurance that the structure would not constitute a hazard to air navigation.
The Building Code Council will have the authority to override local government zoning — and approve or deny the request to build the structure. The Council must act within 30 days, or the construction can go forward under a presumption of approval.
Penalties for violating the new rules will be assessed up to $5,000 for each day the developer remains in violation, as determined by the state Commissioner of Insurance.
The bill would affect the following military installations in North Carolina:
- Fort Bragg
- Pope Army Airfield
- Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Air Base
- New River Marine Corps Air Station
- Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station
- Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point
- United States Coast Guard Air Station at Elizabeth City
- Naval Support Activity Northwest
- Air Route Surveillance Radar (ARSR‑4) at Fort Fisher
- Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
- Dare County Bombing Range
The military is North Carolina’s second largest economic sector, providing $26 billion to the state’s economy and employing 8% of North Carolina’s workforce.
HB433 now awaits Governor McCrory’s signature.