Fort Leonard Wood's "good neighbor" status was the topic of conversation at the meeting held to discuss the land use in the areas surrounding Fort Leonard Wood on Monday evening.

Around a dozen people attended the meeting where a presentation was given by Benchmark CMR Inc. of Kannopolis, NC explaining what the company will be looking at as they conduct the study. The study is intended to "identify ways for the Fort and the surrounding communities to improve communication on matters of mutual interest and work together on land use compatibility issues," according to handouts provided by the company at the meeting.

Benchmark is in the beginning stages of the study and is visiting the communities surrounding Fort Leonard Wood to hold meetings to find out what concerns, if any, the communities may have concerning land development.

Benchmark's presentation included information about the specific areas they would be looking at as they draft the results of the study including noise, safety and other issues, as they relate to land use surrounding Fort Leonard Wood. The company hopes that the public will attend the meetings to offer feedback about any areas they may have missed.

According to Benchmark's preliminary study of the of the areas they are looking at, specifically parts of Pulaski, Phelps, Texas and Laclede Counties, growth and development has increased to a degree to warrant the study.

The counties considered in the study have seen population growth, more land development, and increased traffic in certain areas. The study hopes to find ways to make sure the surrounding communities and Fort Leonard Wood continue a good working relationship.

Those in attendance at Monday evening's meeting didn't express any concerns about Fort Leonard Wood as a neighbor, but did ask a few questions related to the future of the base. Benchmark was unable to comment as to the future of Fort Leonard Wood and assured the audience they were only "generally looking at land use."

Conclusions drawn from the study won't be available until some time in May, according to Benchmark. More information about the study can be found at Benchmark also plans to publish the results there as well.

Regional population change since 1940

·161,019 residents in four county region

·16.2 percent increase from 2000 census

·26.6 increase from 1990 census

·134.5 increase from 1940 census

County's share of the regional population

·Laclede 22.1 percent

·Phelps 28 percent

·Pulaski 32.5 percent

·Texas 16.2 percent

Traffic volume analysis

·Missouri Avenue, St. Robert negative 20.6 percent change since 2002

·Route H, Waynesville increase of 1,763 percent between 2000 - 2011