Blossom Point Research Facility is a military range under the leadership of the U.S. Army Garrison, Adelphi Laboratory Center in Adelphi, Maryland. The primary mission at Blossom Point is to operate and maintain an ordinance and research facility, including a Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The NRL leases 41 acres from the U.S. Army to operate a satellite tracking station for NRL and Navy satellites. Blossom Point is comprised of approximately 1,600 acres in Charles County in southern Maryland, approximately 20 miles south of Washington, D.C.
Joint Land Use Study Planning Process
Charles County sponsored the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) in response to Army concerns that any commercial or residential development near the installation’s northern boundary could adversely affect the Blossom Point mission. The Army Research Laboratory’s acoustic and electron optics research and NRL activities require operation of electromagnetic devices that are sensitive to radio frequency interference. The JLUS, completed in April 2012, was conducted in a collaborative manner involving all stakeholders, including the local elected officials, planning commissioners, local military base command staff, community business leaders, homebuilders, real estate interests, landowners, and neighboring residents. However, installation personnel requested a modified JLUS process to ensure security of the base mission. To accommodate this request, Charles County formed a JLUS Policy Committee that only included representatives from the county planning and economic development offices, base personnel, and State of Maryland to provide technical guidance and direction to the JLUS consultant. As the study progressed, the JLUS Policy Committee reviewed draft reports, policy recommendations, and the proposed implementation matrix prior to public presentation.
The JLUS includes four primary policy recommendations:
- changes to the Charles County Comprehensive Plan;
- an updated Special Exception review process to include Blossom Point staff when appropriate;
- an updated Charles County Real Estate Disclosure to address potential issues related to Blossom Point;
- the acquisition of target properties within the JLUS study area; and
- further review of the County’s zoning ordinance to support compatible land use.