Planners will develop three options for developing Whiting Aviation Park, PBS&J vice president Jeff Helms said Monday at a Santa Rosa County Commission meeting.
"We believe you need at least three concepts," Helms said. "I think it's important to look at alternatives. This is a 20-year plan; we better get it right."
The aviation industrial park will be developed on about 270 acres of county-owned property next to Naval Air Station Whiting Field north of Milton. Tenants will have limited access to a 6,000-foot runway at Whiting Field, a key pilot-training facility for Marine Corps and Navy fliers.
The Office of the Assistant Undersecretary of the Navy on June 1, 2009, authorized Naval Air Station Whiting Field officials to negotiate a limited-use agreement with Santa Rosa County. That agreement was completed and approved by the commission in July.
The idea to allow aviation-related businesses to use the Whiting Field runway surfaced in 2001, when Admiral John E. Boyington proposed it in a letter objecting to the proposed extension of a runway at Peter Prince Airport. The disagreement resulted in the county conducting and implementing the Whiting Field Joint Land Use Study to prevent development from encroaching on the Navy's training mission and in pursuit of an agreement to share a runway at NAS Whiting Field.
For more on this story, see the Jan. 14 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online.