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HAS LAYTON LET HOUSING MOVE TOO CLOSE TO HILL?

A federal planner believes Layton City has allowed too much housing development around the fringes of Hill Air Force Base, particularly along flight corridors. However, Layton City's planner disagrees and said Hill has altered the location of its main flight path several times.

Dave MacKinnon, project manager with the Defense Department, spoke to several dozen Davis County leaders and homeowners recently in a special planning meeting and said cities around Hill, especially Layton, have allowed too much development around the base, and this is limiting what Hill can do.He stressed that the heavy development around the base - homes, businesses and even churches - could be a key strike against Hill in the future if the military ever seriously looks at closing it down.

The Air Force has used many tactics to reduce noise from jet aircraft but has just about run out of additional noise-reducing options, according to MacKinnon.However, J. Scott Carter, Layton City planner, disagrees with MacKinnon. He said the Air Force gave him a study in 1979 outlining where building should be limited along busy flight paths and then totally revised that flight area in 1982.

"I can't plan around a moving target," Carter said.

Layton has also used federal guidelines to restrict low-income housing, such as Veterans Administration-funded residences around the base, according to Carter. However, he said these restrictions apply only to new housing and there are too many loopholes in the rules.

Carter also wondered why the Defense Department is singling out Layton now as having poor housing restrictions around the base when within several months an important, 18-month federally funded joint land-use study around Hill is due to be released. He feels the Department of Defense could have postponed these flight path concerns at least until after the study comes out.