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Public a no-show at public hearing on Fort Sill land use

Southwest Oklahoma residents missed their second of three opportunities to provide input on a Fort Sill Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) when no one showed up for a public workshop here Monday.

Project manager Celeste Werner, vice president of Matrix Design Group, in Phoenix, said it's not necessarily a great thing that the public was a "no-show" for the event.

"It's a great thing that the public does have an opportunity to provide input for it. Why is it important? It's important to each individual who lives within the region and the community because, one, you want to, in most cases, be a good neighbor, right? You want to make sure that if somebody's having any impacts on you as a person or on your property, that you're part of that collaborative process to identify a solution set to make sure that you're not impacted any more.

"And the same goes, as far as being a good neighbor, if you, as an individual or a property owner, may be impacting Fort Sill and Fort Sill's position to continue in their military readiness ...

"Why is it important? Because there is going to be a set of recommendations that are going to be developed to address compatibility issues that either exist today or could potentially exist in the future. And many of those strategies may have an impact on an individual property owner or a person, depending on where they live. But as importantly, this is an opportunity where they can help craft and be part of the solution, and guide, hopefully, what is one of your most important economic catalysts in your backyard," Werner said.

She was referring to the fact that Fort Sill is the No. 1 employer in Southwest Oklahoma.

"The key is not to state 'no development.' It's to guide the appropriate development, compatible development. And really to (provide) a set of information so decision-makers at the political level, agency level, organization level, can make informed decisions," said Werner.

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