Front Yard Chopper Pad Whips Up Neighbors

By Barbara Schmitt

May 23, 2014 5:47pm

A quiet residential community in Valrico, Florida, is fed up with a helicopter taking off at all hours of the day – not from an airport, but from a neighbor’s front yard.

“The helicopter has been going on for about two or three weeks now. He’s been doing fly-over’s, buzzing the tree tops,” Michael Sullivan tells ABC Tampa affiliate WFTV.

“The convenience of having a helicopter is not worth the inconvenience it’s causing to all us neighbors,” Dan Ferguson tells WFTV.

Officials with the Florida Department of Transportation tell ABC News they have located the owner and have taken action.  “We have prepared a cease and desist order,” Aviation Operations Administrator David Roberts said.

Officials declined to identify the person named on the cease and desist order.

The cease and desist order requires the owner of the property to seek zoning approval from the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement.

“We conducted inspection today. Unfortunately the helicopter was not on site so we weren’t able to view it,” Division Director John Blinck tells ABC News. “But, we did leave a notice at the residence. So this is going to be an ongoing investigation.”

Blinck says they plan on returning next week and interview residents.

The FAA told WFTV it has no private helicopter landing area registered to the address.

A landing pad on private property is required to be at least 500 feet from a dwelling or property zoned in a residential area, according to zoning records.  It also requires special approval from the board of county commissioners.

 

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