Helistop coming back in front of City Council
April 21, 2011 · Updated 3:08 PM
A controversial application from Kemper Development to operate a helistop on top of the Bank of America building downtown will finally be back in front of the City Council next week.
The issue has been a hot potato passed between the council and Hearing Examiner several times over the past two years for various reasons. A number of citizens have vociferously opposed the plan, saying it would create too much noise and a safety issue downtown.
The last activity on the manner issue saw the Hearing Examiner hand off the latest of many recommendations issued over the last two years to council and staff last December.
Despite protests of numerous citizens, Hearing Examiner Christopher Matthews recommended that the council approve the plans for the helistop with a host of conditions, including times when helicopters can and can't fly, and interactive phone and web tools to allow citizens to communicate with the operators. Other conditions include a maximum of five takeoffs and landing per week, only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Only light turbine helicopters would be allowed to use the strip, and must fly along the major freeways, and the Northeast Eighth Street corridor for departure and approach.
The plan has long been a source of controversy downtown. Initial recommendations by the hearing examiner in 2009 were appealed to the City Council by Su Development and Ina Tateuchi, among others. The matter was returned to the Hearing Examiner in the summer of 2010 to consider new evidence, including a Federal Aviation Administration "no objection" letter, a standard document required for aviation projects.
According to a notice, the meeting will begin at 8 p.m. Monday at City Hall. The council will not take comments from the public on the topic during oral communications because the public hearing on the matter has already been closed, according to the meeting notice.