AFORR's Concepts for an ORR Land-Use Planning Process
Construct the planning process around comparative analysis of a set of alternative scenarios for future Oak Ridge Reservation land use.
  • Alternative scenarios based on different stakeholders' visions for the ORR. 
  • Examples of possible alternative scenarios include:

  • - Continue the Status quo: K-25 Site and ED-1 for private sector development, Y-12 area dedicated to defense, Three Bends area for conservation, remainder for ORNL, other research initiatives, and environmental management.
    - DOE's "plan" as Leah Dever presented it on January 30: Same as status quo, except entire ETTP area of responsibility to private sector for industrial development.
    - Emphasis on research, conservation and tourism: Same as status quo, except that certain areas are maintained as historic tourism sites, with conservation of historic features and arrangements for public access; Three Bends permanently dedicated to conservation (with compatible environmental research and recreation); Clark Center Park maintained for low-intensity recreation compatible with the adjacent conservation areas (boat launching, picnic and swimming areas, fishing piers, group campsite for youth groups); other selected areas dedicated to a combination of environmental management buffer, conservation, recreation, and similar uses.
    - Oak Ridge Regional Planning Commission master plan: Most of the reservation converted to private ownership and use, including residential, commercial, industrial, and open space.
Provide integrated analysis of the different scenarios' implications for factors such as:
  • ecosystem impacts and health
  • regional economic benefits and costs
  • economic cost-benefit to the local community (Oak Ridge and the two counties), including cost of infrastructure and other services to development
  • cost to federal government
  • future viability of ORNL as a science center
  • feasibility and effectiveness of long-term stewardship and control of contaminated areas
  • cultural resource preservation
  • tourism and education opportunities
  • recreation opportunities
  • effective security for defense activities
  • viability of economic development schemes (including demand for and marketability of potential developments, as well as potential for competition with private sector development)
Planning must be a collaborative process involving:

U.S. Department of Energy. DOE is the government agency responsible for this publicly owned land. DOE necessarily should take the lead in the planning process.

Cooperative Participants. Other entities with a stake in the future of the ORR should be able to participate actively in the planning process in a cooperative role. Cooperators should include:

  • Government agencies that share a management role with DOE (such as Tennessee Valley Authority and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) 
  • The state-designated regional planning authority for the area (Oak Ridge Regional Planning Commission) and the city planning staff 
  • Key stakeholder groups (such as AFORR and the Tennessee Conservation League)
  • DOE's designated agent for "community transition" activities in Oak Ridge, the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET)
Other possible cooperators include: 
  • Other government agencies with particular interest or expertise related to ORR resources or potential uses (such as Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, US EPA Region IV, US Fish and Wildlife Service, county officials, Tennessee Historical Commission, East Tennessee Development District, Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors' Bureau, and other city offices)
  •  Other area and national interest groups, such as The Nature Conservancy, the Local Oversight Committee, Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere, and national scientific organizations.
Cooperators would 
  • provide information consistent with their resources and expertise
  • identify issues of concern
  • formulate alternatives to be evaluated 
  • provide perspectives on issues, alternatives and analyses
  • interact regularly throughout the process
Each cooperating organization would need to have one person represent them in this process, but they would participate as agents of their agency or organization, not as individuals. The group of cooperators should not be considered to be a committee, and the group should not be expected to make group recommendations or to reach decisions by a voting process.

Contractor support. DOE will need contractor support to do the analyses and facilitate the interactions of cooperators. Expertise is needed in: 

  • urban/regional planning, 
  • strategic approaches to economic development, 
  • cost-benefit analysis for development (i.e., capital budgeting),
  • environmental impact assessment (including requirements of National Historic Preservation Act and Endangered Species Act), 
  • conducting collaborative planning/decisionmaking processes. 
Contractors should be independent from local stakeholder interests. The selected contractor(s) need to be acceptable to all participants.

The general public. Periodic public involvement is very important, including public meetings and release of draft documents for public comment.

Considerations in planning

Land Information

Includes land use constraints, land-use suitability, and special values. Much of this information is already available from Common Ground, the Comprehensive Integrated Planning Process, and other DOE data sets.

Federal government purposes

DOE purposes include:

  • research,
  • defense production
  • environmental management (both cleanup and waste management).

    To the extent that regional economic development is also a DOE purpose, the requirements to achieve the purpose depend on having a comprehensive vision/strategy for such development. This does not seem to exist now, and AFORR thinks there are some alternative paths that could be followed. DOE will need outside expertise to assist in framing alternative economic development strategies for consideration in the process.

    Other potential federal purposes, including conservation, are outside the scope of DOE's mission but also should be considered in planning.

  • Notes on scope of planning effort

    Included (i.e., no land use changes or land transfers should occur during the planning process):

  • ED-3
  • Clark Center Park
  • Parcel 8

    Initiatives unaffected by the planning process include:

  • ORNL Facilities Revitalization,
  • Y-12 Modernization,
  • Spallation Neutron Source construction
  • EM Waste Management Facility
  • Proposed transfer of the Museum of Science and Energy to the City of Oak Ridge
  • Updated May 30, 2001.
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