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Today's Letters: County should ground helicopter

Published August 9, 2007


Re: Geiger has a new flight plan story, Aug. 7

County should ground helicopter

Matt Geiger doesn't need a new flight plan - according to his own admission at a recent community meeting, helicopters have been landing and taking off from his property unlawfully for quite some time. The only flight plan he should have is one from a public airport where these activities are monitored better than the county's inability to do so.

The reasons why helicopters and other aircraft don't belong in someone's back yard are numerous and should be obvious to anyone considerate of the welfare of others. They include noise, safety compromises, enforcement difficulty, negative effects on nearby property values, adverse effects on wildlife, and incompatibility with neighbors' and community activities.

As residents, we are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of our homes and outdoor living areas, day and night. A helicopter flying at 500 feet exceeds the county noise ordinance. It is louder than a vacuum cleaner at 10 feet, according to a noise study.

Mr. Geiger is proposing an annoying eight flights a week. Horses will bolt and dogs will howl. Outdoor activities will be disrupted. Noise stresses people and animals alike.

We are entitled to a safe community. The proposed helipad location is 700 feet from the entrance road that neighbors ride their horses on to access the Brooker Creek Preserve horse trail. Our local government funded with our tax dollars would be liable by allowing such a hazardous condition to exist if they approved this use. Even gentle horses spook over loud and unusual sights and this could endanger the lives of their riders.

The helicopter's proposed flight path is too close in proximity to the site of three schools, three neighborhoods, churches, youth ball fields and a golf course. According to the National Transportation Safety Board's review of helicopter accidents, personal uses rate the highest in number of accidents. Often the helicopter owner/operator may be negligent in having an undertrained or inexperienced pilot (Mr. Geiger states that he wants to take flying lessons!), poorly trained ground mechanics, negligent operation of the aircraft, negligent in operating in poor weather conditions, failure to maintain the helicopter, and others factors that compromise safety.

Please contact John Cueva of Pinellas County Building & Development Review Services at (727) 464-3888, to voice your opposition to this helicopter use. A public review is scheduled for today and the Board of County Commissioners will vote on this issue Oct. 16.

Jeanne M. Johnson, Tarpon Springs

Re: Uproar silences plan for kennel story, July 27

Residents right to protest expansion

I am not a resident of Safety Harbor and have no vested interest in the ongoing debate between the Signature Estates community and the Sheldegren kennel expansion plan.

However, I have failed to see the following point addressed during the ongoing disputes between the two parties and your readers that have responded to this series of articles:

My understanding of the conflict is that residents in the area are opposed to the expansion of the kennel. As both a dog lover and homeowner, I am in agreement that a buyer has an obligation to become educated regarding pre-existing conditions within the neighborhood (dog kennels, airports, highways etc.).

However, I would adamantly disagree that the residents of this community, or any other facing an expansion, do not have the right to fight against and protest additional development.

Supporters of the kennel frequently use the analogy of a community being developed within close proximity to the airport and residents later bemoaning noise issues. Indeed, a valid point.

Nonetheless, wouldn't every homeowner within this neighborhood have the right to rally against plans for a future airport expansion?

Michael Thomas, Tarpon Springs

Re: REMEMBERING: Pinellas deaths daily list in the North Pinellas local sections

New list is a useful addition

I just wanted to say thank you for including this new list in the paper.

It is much easier to scan the names in this column than it is to attempt to look through the detailed obituaries now located in Section B of the St. Petersburg Times.

I hope that you will continue to offer this column in the future.

Allan Carstens, Largo


[Last modified August 8, 2007, 20:19:52]

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