Cities, township around Wright-Patt form their own legal entity

A map of the Dayton region surrounding Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The map was shown at a April 27 public meeting on the base, when the base introduced updated guidelines on residential and commercial development around the 7,600-plus-acre installation. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
A map of the Dayton region surrounding Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The map was shown at a April 27 public meeting on the base, when the base introduced updated guidelines on residential and commercial development around the 7,600-plus-acre installation. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Dayton, Riverside, Huber Heights, Fairborn, Beavercreek and Bath Twp. are now a Council of Governments that can set shared regulations

A council of municipal governments located around Wright-Patterson Air Force Base introduced itself publicly Thursday — and shed new light on its legal status, noting that the council is a legal entity with many of the same powers as any Ohio city government.

The Wright-Patterson Regional Council of Governments is a council of six communities formed in the past three years, uniting the governments of Dayton, Fairborn, Huber Heights, Bath Twp., Beavercreek and Riverside to support and work with one of the nation’s biggest and most important Air Force bases.

In doing so, the group formed a new municipal government, recognized as such by the state of Ohio, that can make purchases, pass zoning laws and take actions similar to a Ohio municipality found on a map.

“These entities came together to create their own municipality, which was filed with the state of Ohio,” said Dave Burrows, the Dayton Development Coalition’s vice president of engagement, who works with the council. “They have made a commitment to the community and to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to make this base better, stronger and more livable for the Airmen of Wright-Patterson.”

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KC-135 Stratotankers from the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, sit on the flightline June 8 at Wright-Patterson AFB. KC-135 and KC-46 tankers and crew members will be at Wright-Patt through June 18 for a deployment exercise, which includes nighttime aerial-refueling training. U.S. Air FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ

Credit: 88th Air Base Wing

KC-135 Stratotankers from the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, sit on the flightline June 8 at Wright-Patterson AFB. KC-135 and KC-46 tankers and crew members will be at Wright-Patt through June 18 for a deployment exercise, which includes nighttime aerial-refueling training. U.S. Air FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ

Credit: 88th Air Base Wing

Combined ShapeCaption
KC-135 Stratotankers from the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, sit on the flightline June 8 at Wright-Patterson AFB. KC-135 and KC-46 tankers and crew members will be at Wright-Patt through June 18 for a deployment exercise, which includes nighttime aerial-refueling training. U.S. Air FORCE PHOTO/R.J. ORIEZ

Credit: 88th Air Base Wing

Credit: 88th Air Base Wing

These communities have always sought to work with base leaders. But the formation of the council streamlines and formalizes that work, with the ability to create regulations, pass Tax Increment Financing districts and more, members said at a press conference at the Dayton offices of U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, who helped secure $1 million in federal funding for the council.

“It has the government powers that any municipality would,” Turner said. “These cities that have come together to form it are the governing body of that municipality.”

When the council votes on contracts or other measures, designees of each member community cast the votes, usually city managers or high-ranking administrators.

“We’re excited to get started,” said Rob Anderson, Fairborn city manager. “This is step one of a long process.”

Infrastructure, retail presence, living quarters, office space, hotels, entertainment options and more are all shared concerns, members said.

One recent example of the council’s work: They voted to hire Matrix Design Group, based in Crofton, Maryland, to craft two studies to help guide local governments on shepherding development in a way that’s compatible with Wright-Patterson’s aviation and military missions.

In late April, Wright-Patterson leaders introduced the results of an updated “Air Installation Compatible Use Zones Study” or “AICUZ” study, asking that local officials consider the findings when developing their own zoning and use codes.

The idea behind AICUZ is to help cities understand what can and should not be built near an Air Force installation. That study will inform and complement the work Matrix performs for the council.

“It is important to use that AICUZ study, because no one is supplanting anything that has already been done,” Burrows said.

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