Adjacent Park Development May Force Club To Relocate Due To
A radio controlled model airplane club in Akron, OH may face
severe restrictions or removal from a flying site they have
occupied for more than 37 years if plans for park development on
property surrounding the site call for it.
According to an article in the South Side Leader, a battle
between the Corsair Model Airplane Club (CMAC) and Metro Parks, the
organization that oversees park land in Summit County, began when
the county recently donated 290 undeveloped acres to the parks
district. The land borders the Summit County Fairgrounds, the
location of the CMAC flying site, and some of the land lies under
the airspace in which the model aircraft fly.
The property has been added to Munroe Falls Metro Park, and
Metro Parks has plans to build a hiking and jogging trail there
In a recent meeting, CMAC Trustee John Ashley was notified by
Metro Parks Director/Secretary Keith Shy the district has the right
to prohibit the group from flying its model planes due to a
conservation easement on the property.
In the terms of the easement, Metro Parks retains certain
control over the environment including, to some degree, the
activities of parks adjacent to but not owned by it.
The donated acreage surrounds the flying site on three sides and
more than 75 percent of the semi-circular flight pattern used by
the club is over the new park property according to Ashley. Though
national standards recommend safe flying zones for model aircraft
to be located 1,250 feet from the flight line, the club has chosen
to only use a 900 foot buffer zone.
Metro Parks agrees though the club has permission to be on the
fairgrounds, it doesn’t have the right to fly over park
property, as doing so could be hazardous to park visitors according
to Shy. He has offered the club, use of the park airspace through
2008 and into 2009 until the park is developed provided it applies
for a special-use permit and provides liability insurance. After
the park is developed, the club would need to find a new flying
“What we have to do to maintain the integrity of what
we’ve done for all these years and what the voters have told
us that they like about Metro Parks is what’s at stake
here,” Shy said. “If we have this type of activity
going on in this particular park, then are we going to open it up
to ATVs, motorcycles and things of that nature in all our parks? I
Jason Dodson, an attorney in County Executive Russ Pry’s
office feels through the parks district has the right to reasonably
control its airspace up to a point, he sees the easement dealing
more specifically with building construction and certain prohibited
uses like dumping or drilling. Continued use of property airspace
for model aircraft flying is not inconsistent with the easement
terms, he argued.
Council members were split on the issue during a June 23
meeting, but all who spoke indicated they would like to see the two
entities reach a compromise. The next step for the club is to meet
with the Metro Parks Board of Park Commissioners and make a formal
presentation regarding the issue.