City council discusses possibility of banning helicopter takeoff - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

City council discusses possibility of banning helicopter takeoffs and landings

The Wilmington City Council discussed the possibility of prohibiting helicopters from taking off and landing in the city. (Source: City of Wilmington) The Wilmington City Council discussed the possibility of prohibiting helicopters from taking off and landing in the city. (Source: City of Wilmington)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

The Wilmington City Council discussed the possibility of prohibiting helicopters from taking off and landing in the city Monday morning.

After Monday's agenda meeting, Mayor Pro-Tem Margaret Haynes asked her fellow council members for their thoughts on a local helicopter company which had been taking off near the foot of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge for tours.

According to city staff, High Tide Helicopters has applied for and received temporary use permits four times to launch tours from a site near Surry Street. The permits are good for one day only.

"If everyone is for it, fine," said Haynes, who also took issue with the business placing multiple signs downtown. "But I just don't think it's appropriate over our city to have this kind of thing happening."

Council member Kevin O'Grady cited safety concerns from low-flying aircraft as well as the noise created.

"It's pretty loud," O'Grady said. "I think it's disturbing for a residential area and I think it's intrusive for residential areas."

Haynes and council member Paul Lawler expressed concerns that the noise could affect those trying to enjoy the riverfront.

"She's not only flying over the residences, she's flying over the riverfront," Haynes said about High Tides. "Over the weekend, we're encouraging people to be on the Riverwalk and to partake in the restaurants and enjoy the peace and quiet and beauty of the riverfront."

"The other thing to me that's very exciting going on is the development of the river as a place for a lot of activity," council member Paul Lawler said. "We have a lot of marinas and docks going along there. I'm not sure having a helicopter buzzing over you is going to encourage people to get out on their boats and enjoy the river and the downtown area."

While aircraft noise is not covered in the city's noise ordinance, Haynes argued that the helicopter company is an entertainment business and should be governed by the same ordinance as musical acts.

"The take-off and landing and the proximity to the residential area and riverfront, I think, is just not appropriate for a historic port city," she said. "I like to see us at least research this and entertain a resolution to stop the take-off and landings."

In January, the Carolina Beach Town Council voted unanimously to prohibit helicopters from taking off and landing in its town.

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