Neighbors Nix Man's Plan to Fly Helicopter Over Home


Blanchette said he and Stadler had exchanged emails in which each expressed his concern, with Stadler worrying mainly about the risk.

"I simply ask that you respect my interest and allow me to show you the helicopter, take you and the neighbors for a flight and explain my approach and departing path," Blanchette wrote. " I'm sure all of our interests are to be a GOOD neighbors."

None of the neighbors ever took Blanchette up on his offer to meet with him – or to take a ride on his plane.

"I do not feel the need to personally confront someone about activity if that activity endangers the neighborhood," said Stadler.

Select Woman Cathy Bergstrom, equivalent to the town's mayor, stepped in to work out a solution -- Blanchette said she was the first person to ever ask his opinion about the fracas. After an investigation, Bergstrom reiterated that Blanchette was within his legal rights to fly his plane over his new house, and that most of Stadler's worries over Blanchette's intentions were unfounded. She even consulted with a real estate company, which confirmed that a helicopter nearby would not affect property values – one of Stadler's objections.

Bergstrom also learned there were two other private planes in the town, and that no enforcement action had ever been taken against them.

She arranged for Stadler and his compatriots to attend Tuesday's meeting where they could address their grievances before the board decided whether to file an ordinance against Blanchette and his plane.

Bergstrom only wished that Blanchette had had the opportunity to speak with his neighbors before it came to this.

"It kind of defeats the purpose [to meet after Tuesday]. I think it would have clarified things. I've had residents call who were misinformed, and once I told them correct information said that they understood. … He just wasn't afforded that opportunity," she said.

But not all the neighbors oppose Blanchette. "What happened to innocent until proven guilty?" Philip Delldonna, Blanchette's next-door neighbor, asked. "He hasn't even landed the helicopter yet, and people are only hearing one side of it. … It's not right."

Deldonna was at home when Blanchette flew over his house for a test run. He said that by the time he figured out what the sound was, it was over.

"My house wasn't shaking, no glasses were falling off," he recalled. He is going to Tuesday night's meeting to support his neighbor.

And Blanchette certainly appreciates the neighborly support, which he said he's sorely missed.

"Never got the chance to get comfortable enough to do what neighbors do, like ask for a cup of sugar," Blanchette said. "I haven't even had the pleasure to meet anyone. That's what's so disheartening."

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