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Mon, Jun 11, 2012

Myrtle Beach NIMBYs Can't Shut Down Helicopter Tours

Local Public Safety Committee Says 'No Immediate Solution'

At a meeting Thursday of the Horry County (SC) Public Safety Committee, a group of Myrtle Beach residents opposed to a company operating helicopter tours near their homes was told there is no quick solution to the issue.

Residents who live near the heliport recently constructed by Helicopter Adventure say their homes are now "virtually worthless." They say they can see the aircraft taking off and landing from their homes, and can hear them long before they take flight.

But the company went through all the proper channels and received all the proper permits to build the facility, according to a report appearing in Myrtle Beach Online. County Council members said they were unaware that the heliport was being built, because such permitting is done through the Planning and Zoning Department. The director of that department said the tour company did everything it was supposed to in order to set up shop where it did.

But Brent Schultz, the chair of the commission's Public Safety Committee told the residents "Just because it's by the book doesn't make it right."

The heliport meets the zoning requirements for an amusement and commercial property. The plans for the heliport were submitted last November, and the business flew its first tours over the Memorial Day weekend. Freddie Rick, the CEO of Helicopter Adventures, says the company operates 20 to 25 tours a day.

Residents say the noise from the helicopters violates the city's noise ordinance, but they were told that the only recourse they have is through circuit court. They were told they could file nuisance complaints against the company and try to force them to relocate.

Rick said it would be impossible to get rid of the noise, "but we will do everything we can to abate the noise."

FMI: www.horrycounty.org

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