Neighbors question proposal for helipad
A proposal for a private helicopter landing pad on a ranch in Missouri Heights has neighbors worried it might devalue their homes. Turnberry Ranch LLP has applied for a conditional use permit from the Garfield County Commissioners to build a 25-foot circular landing pad for a helicopter. Jeffery Soffer, whose family owns Turnberry Development, a large commercial and residential developer that has built high-rise hotels in Miami and Las Vegas, owns the 625-acre ranch.Soffer, his family and business associates fly into either the Aspen or Rifle airports and transfer to his private helicopter for a short hop to the ranch.Residents near the Turnberry Ranch have complained about helicopters flying low over residences.Glenwood Springs attorney Tim Thulson requested the public hearing before the county commissioners Monday be continued to June 20 to give him time to meet with all the neighbors who have expressed concern about the helipad. However, the county commissioners allowed the handful of people in the audience to give testimony on the project since many were unaware the matter would not be heard Monday.Jim Foster, who spoke for the Panorama Estates Homeowners Association, is a pilot and former member of the Garfield County Airport Authority Board, which oversaw operations of the airport at one time. Foster said his neighbors are concerned the helicopter traffic may affect the value of their property. He also wondered if homeowners would have to increase their insurance coverage because of the helicopters.”We know we live in uncontrolled airspace and … they have every right to operate. The homeowners association is not out to prevent (this),” Foster said.Another neighbor, Darlene Raymond-Baran, said she hopes the commissioners will stick to Federal Aviation Administration security guidelines to prevent illegal activities like “gunrunners and drugs … so nothing happens covertly behind my house.”She also said she hopes the ranch would allow Flight For Life helicopters to land at the helipad in case of emergencies.Ron Hughes, who lives on County Road 155 some distance from the ranch, asked to be included in a meeting Thulson will have with concerned neighbors. “The thing flies over my house, and we’d like to be able to have a say,” he said.Janver Derrington asked the commissioners to consider defining a flight path into and out of the ranch that directs the helicopter away from houses as much as possible.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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