Senate approves Laughlin AFB anti-encroachment bill
The Texas Senate on Friday approved a bill by Sen. Carlos Uresti that will limit encroachment around Laughlin AFB.
As the military considers base closures and realignments in the future, Uresti said growth around the base must be managed in a way that does not interfere with Laughlin's ability to maintain its current operations and expand its role.
"In military terms, this bill is mission critical, not only to Laughlin's future but that of Del Rio as well," Uresti said. "As the city and county grow, we must make sure that unlimited development does not cast a killing shadow over the base's ability to grow as well."
Senate Bill 2439 will establish a five-mile buffer around the base and create a Regional Military Sustainability Commission of no more than nine members that will review the compatibility of proposed development projects.
Also, a six-member committee, composed of three representatives from the base and three surrounding landowners, will advise the commission on protecting critical military missions with regard to development.
While the bill was amended to respond to members' concerns about the protection of private property rights, Uresti stayed firm on the five-mile buffer zone, ensuring that the legislation truly reflected the work of the local community and its joint land use study.
Uresti also praised the leadership of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who earned his second lieutenant's bars at Laughlin.
"Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst was sensitive to the unique needs of a thriving base like Laughlin and helped craft legislation that answered the concerns of the base, the city and local property owners," Uresti said.
Carlos Uresti is the senator from State Senate District 19 representing over 750,000 residents throughout a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County, including all or part of the following: Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Culberson, Crockett, El Paso, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts and spans two time zones.