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Club debate flares

It’s been almost two years since the Town of Pulaski was asked to ban a remote controlled airplane club from Loving Field, but was, instead, able to reach a compromise between the club and complainant.
Now, other residents of the Robinson Tract community are seeking to have the club ousted from the recreational fields.
Charles Bopp, who represents the Robinson District on Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, said he hates to have to ask the town to make the club move elsewhere because “everybody needs a hobby.” However, he indicated numerous residents of the district have complained to him about the noise and risk of property damage from the model airplanes.
Although the Loving Field recreational complex is in the county, the Town of Pulaski owns it.
Besides the amount of noise the planes generate, Bopp said the residents also are concerned that a club member might lose control of a plane and have it crash into the windshield of a passing vehicle, or into a field or woods and spark a fire.
Clint Ison Jr., president of the club — New River Valley Aces — presented Pulaski Town Council with proof the club carries liability insurance to cover any damage one of the planes might cause.
He said planes do crash at times, but “as far as I know, they haven never caused any property damage.”
As for the noise, Ison equated it to that of a lawnmower.
According to Ison, deputies with Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office have come to observe the airplanes in response to complaints. He says county officials indicated the officers did not find any violations to the county’s noise ordinance.
Councilman Robert Bopp (Charles Bopp’s son) disagreed with Ison that the planes sound like lawnmowers.
“I’ve spent a number of hours out there and they’re not comparable to lawnmowers. They’re a lot louder,” Robert Bopp said.
Mayor Jeff Worrell agreed the planes are loud. He said he was at Thornspring Cemetery one day and was surprised to find out the planes could be heard there.
He pointed out that the club has a hard time finding a place to fly their planes for that reason.
Ison agreed the group has had to move from locations several times in the past. If they can’t fly at Loving Field, he said the next closest location they can use will be in Wytheville.
The club has 32 members, some from other areas such as Radford City and Pearisburg. Ison, however, estimated fewer than 10 are flying planes at Loving Field during an average day.
He acknowledged some models of the plane engines are louder than others. If an engine fails, he noted that the operator still has the ability to land it.
Councilman Dave Clark agreed some of the planes are louder than others. He recalled how children playing soccer on the fields pay no attention to some of the planes, but stop everything when others take off.
“They (the children) like to watch them fly, but they don’t get much soccer playing done,” he added.
Dave Hart, director of parks and facilities for the town, said the club has done a good job of maintaining the field they use over the years.
Councilman Mogan Welker said it seems the best solution would be to limit the times the club can fly the planes.
“But that still won’t stop the noise,” Charles Bopp said.
Welker said it seems to be the best compromise.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. said he can’t “in good conscience squash” the club members’ hobby, especially if there were any children taking up the hobby. He agreed there needs to be restrictions though.
Town Manager John Hawley suggested town staff meet with residents of the area, club members and Supervisor Bopp to see if some compromise or criteria can be established to solve the problem.

Club debate flares

It’s been almost two years since the Town of Pulaski was asked to ban a remote controlled airplane club from Loving Field, but was, instead, able to reach a compromise between the club and complainant.
Now, other residents of the Robinson Tract community are seeking to have the club ousted from the recreational fields.
Charles Bopp, who represents the Robinson District on Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, said he hates to have to ask the town to make the club move elsewhere because “everybody needs a hobby.” However, he indicated numerous residents of the district have complained to him about the noise and risk of property damage from the model airplanes.
Although the Loving Field recreational complex is in the county, the Town of Pulaski owns it.
Besides the amount of noise the planes generate, Bopp said the residents also are concerned that a club member might lose control of a plane and have it crash into the windshield of a passing vehicle, or into a field or woods and spark a fire.
Clint Ison Jr., president of the club — New River Valley Aces — presented Pulaski Town Council with proof the club carries liability insurance to cover any damage one of the planes might cause.
He said planes do crash at times, but “as far as I know, they haven never caused any property damage.”
As for the noise, Ison equated it to that of a lawnmower.
According to Ison, deputies with Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office have come to observe the airplanes in response to complaints. He says county officials indicated the officers did not find any violations to the county’s noise ordinance.
Councilman Robert Bopp (Charles Bopp’s son) disagreed with Ison that the planes sound like lawnmowers.
“I’ve spent a number of hours out there and they’re not comparable to lawnmowers. They’re a lot louder,” Robert Bopp said.
Mayor Jeff Worrell agreed the planes are loud. He said he was at Thornspring Cemetery one day and was surprised to find out the planes could be heard there.
He pointed out that the club has a hard time finding a place to fly their planes for that reason.
Ison agreed the group has had to move from locations several times in the past. If they can’t fly at Loving Field, he said the next closest location they can use will be in Wytheville.
The club has 32 members, some from other areas such as Radford City and Pearisburg. Ison, however, estimated fewer than 10 are flying planes at Loving Field during an average day.
He acknowledged some models of the plane engines are louder than others. If an engine fails, he noted that the operator still has the ability to land it.
Councilman Dave Clark agreed some of the planes are louder than others. He recalled how children playing soccer on the fields pay no attention to some of the planes, but stop everything when others take off.
“They (the children) like to watch them fly, but they don’t get much soccer playing done,” he added.
Dave Hart, director of parks and facilities for the town, said the club has done a good job of maintaining the field they use over the years.
Councilman Mogan Welker said it seems the best solution would be to limit the times the club can fly the planes.
“But that still won’t stop the noise,” Charles Bopp said.
Welker said it seems to be the best compromise.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. said he can’t “in good conscience squash” the club members’ hobby, especially if there were any children taking up the hobby. He agreed there needs to be restrictions though.
Town Manager John Hawley suggested town staff meet with residents of the area, club members and Supervisor Bopp to see if some compromise or criteria can be established to solve the problem.