By Jeannette DeForge
Is Westover Air Reserve Base a friend, a foe or something in between to those who live and work in the city and neighboring communities?
Officials at the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover, with the help of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, are embarking on a year-long Joint Land Use Study of the air base and the adjacent Westover Metropolitan Airport.
As part of the study, they are hoping to gather as much input as possible through a questionnaire and public meetings.
The study will also research zoning regulations and economic impacts. Planners will document newer building around the base and will drive around to see what development has happened and examine any impacts it has, said Larry Smith, principal use planner for Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.
"It is to educate people on the value of the base and the asset it is to the region, also to get information about the issues," he said. "How do we continue to be an asset and how can we be good neighbors?"
Over the next few months officials from Westover and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission will be reaching out to residents asking them to fill out the short survey. The survey is currently posted on the Westover Facebook page and Westover website and will be available on the websites for each of the five cities and towns.