By Michael Cato

If you own property near a military installation, you may want to obtain a copy of the Advisory Planning Handbook soon to be issued by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). Or, you can participate in one of the workshops on the issue being scheduled by OPR. The purpose of the Advisory Planning Handbook is to “promote land use compatibility near military installations.” While technically the Handbook is intended to serve only as a “guideline,” project opponents often interpret such “guidelines” as regulations that govern a property’s allowable uses. As a result, developers or other owners of property near any military installation should review and comment on the draft to assure that the guidelines that appear in the final Advisory Planning Handbook are not overly restrictive.

The Advisory Planning Handbook will discuss local and military planning processes and the role of federal and state regulators in planning decisions, and will provide a broad definition of land use compatibility as well as a more detailed look at individual compatibility factors and the range of planning tools available to address such factors. It will list a range of planning tools available to address land use compatibility issues, the benefits and constraints of each tool, implementation and funding strategies, and case studies. The planning conflicts triggered by increased population growth around military bases also will be addressed.

The draft Handbook should be available by November 30, 2005 on OPR’s website, Public hearings are scheduled for December 14, 2005 and December 15, 2005 to solicit comments from interested parties on the draft Handbook, which OPR plans to finalize by January 26, 2006. More information is available at the Handbook website, or by contacting OPR’s Handbook Project Manager Julia Lave Johnston at (916) 445-0613, or via email at

For more information please contact Michael Cato. Michael Cato is an associate in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin’s Del Mar Heights office.