Committee strives for county, base cooperation

A new Joint Land Use (JLUS) committee made up of Curry and Roosevelt County businessmen and women will develop any policies or procedures necessary to build cooperation between Cannon Air Force Base and land owners in the two counties, according to committee members.

Local Growth Management Committee Chairman and Curry County Commissioner Caleb Chandler said the JLUS Partnership Committee will be a sub-committee for the LGMC, which works with opportunities and challenges concerning the air force base, such as housing issues.

"Last year, there was a JLUS committee that did a study and made recommendations based off of that," Chandler said. "The JLUS committee this year is starting where they left off. Their goal is to implement some, if not all, of those recommendations that have already been made."

The eight committee members were chosen by Curry and Roosevelt County commissioners in July.

Although the LGMC is made up of elected officials, the new JLUS committee will include only local businessmen and women with political backgrounds.

Committee member and former Roosevelt County Commissioner Dennis Lopez said the committee's first meeting, which was held Aug. 21, just entailed committee members making introductions with each other and their overall goals.

"At this point, I am just educating myself on JLUS," Lopez said, saying he has been out of the loop with county happenings for the last few years since running for Portales mayor in 2008.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back involved with Curry and Roosevelt counties and Cannon Air Force Base," he added. "We need to support our troops and remember they're here for us, but we also have to protect the rights of our landowners. We're here to find a happy medium."

According to committee member and former Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield, the new committee is not necessarily about dealing with land use issues between the base and local counties but about keeping issues from happening in the first place.

"Identifying potential problems, working with potential land owners and coming up with a solution (are our goals)," Brumfield said. "When they (CAFB) have had any issues, we've always worked with them to come to some kind of resolution. This Joint Land Use is just an effective way to work within the guidelines of what we need to do. That's the goal that we have is to make sure that we all work together for solutions."

Chandler said one of the important aspects to the committee is ensuring that Cannon can carry out its air missions and training while eastern New Mexico utilizes wind energy without the two greatly affecting or interfering with each other.

"We felt like we could get more input and some fresh ideas with people who have expertise in these issues and matters," Chandler said, saying the committee is made up of members who are in farming, finance, housing, wind energy and more.

"The committee will decide if there are any policies, ordinances or zoning that need to be made based off of those recommendations and the city and county commissions will have the final say on whether any actions or decisions are taken on those things," he said.

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