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Loving Field location of model airplane dogfight

Is Loving Field the proper place for airplanes of any size?
That’s the question Pulaski Town Council is being asked to answer.
For several years, residents of the Robinson Tract community have been complaining to the town about a model airplane club that uses a section of the property for their hobby. Now, the town has received a request to allow ultra-light aircraft to use the property when the model club, New River Valley Aces, isn’t using it.
Acting on behalf of his constituents, Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp presented Pulaski Town Council Tuesday with a petition signed by more than 100 residents of the community. The petition requests that the New River Valley Aces no longer be able to fly their model planes at Loving Field.
The petition did not address the ultra-light issue as Tuesday’s work session was the first time it was revealed that ultra-light aircraft enthusiasts want to use the property as well.
Town Parks and Facilities Director Dave Hart said he recently met with members of the community and the club in an effort to reach a compromise between the two. Town Council had requested the groups try to reach a compromise after complaints about the club resurfaced at a February town council meeting.
He said the Aces offered to limit the use of the louder gas engine model planes to two days a week and use quieter electric engines at other times.
"Unfortunately, we didn’t reach any compromise," Hart told council members.
Given the new request, Mayor Jeff Worrell suggested both issues be placed on a future agenda for consideration simultaneously "since the two issues are so closely related." He requested that representatives of each group be present at the meeting.
As for the model airplane club, Worrell said "I’m sure it’s a great hobby and they’ll be the first to admit they keep getting squeezed out" of properties where they try to enjoy their hobby.
In past meetings it has been pointed out that the club has been forced to move to new locations several times.
Councilman Morgan Welker questioned how town council could justify telling the club it has to move elsewhere "if they’re not breaking any laws.
"It’s public property. It would be like saying we don’t want people throwing Frisbees and telling them they have to leave."
Welker said he thinks town staff has "done more than they needed to do" to try to remedy the problem.
"If they’re not willing to compromise, I don’t see what else we can do," he added. "If the county wants to regulate (the club) they can. Maybe we should just sell the property and (residents) could complain to someone else."
The ball fields at Loving field are to be turned over to Pulaski County soon.
As for the section of property used by the club, Town Manager John Hawley said the town has received offers on it, so selling it is feasible.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. said it is his opinion "there should be room for compromise." He noted that he would have a hard time "squashing" a person’s hobby.
Councilman H.M. Kidd asked whether the former landfill property on Draper’s Mountain might be an alternative site for the club since it is more isolated from residential areas.
Hawley said he would have to check into it, but it’s possible Virginia Department of Environmental Quality or the National Guard Armory might object.
Bopp said residents are concerned about the noise, the safety of motorists and children using the ball fields and potential damage to their property.
"The airplane club has just run out of room," he said, noting that the model planes are crashing and plane owners are climbing over farmers’ fences to retrieve them.
Although a club member told town council in February that members always have control of the airplanes, Bopp noted, "if it’s mechanical, anything can happen.
"It’s just time for (the club) to move somewhere else," he said.
A resident of the Dora Highway community asked why the town doesn’t do something about radios blaring from cars if there is concern about noise from the model airplanes.
"Model airplanes have to have some place to fly. They’re not that much trouble and noise," he said.
Robinson Tract resident Sharon Richardson disagrees.
In a letter to town council, she contends that club members have not only harassed her, but have put her life in danger by having one of the planes hover over her t-top Firebird as she drove by Loving Field.
"To think that someone found that type of behavior amusing in any way is reprehensible – to find amusement in endangering someone’s life is sadistic," Richardson writes. If that is the "games" they play with motorists, she questioned what they are doing to nearby livestock.
She recalled that children were prohibited from riding go-carts on the property because of the noise. She asked, "how in the world can anyone justify that this type of thing is any better?"
Worrell asked that both issues be placed on the April 7 meeting agenda. "It’s time we put an end to this once and for all," he said.

Loving Field location of model airplane dogfight

Is Loving Field the proper place for airplanes of any size?
That’s the question Pulaski Town Council is being asked to answer.
For several years, residents of the Robinson Tract community have been complaining to the town about a model airplane club that uses a section of the property for their hobby. Now, the town has received a request to allow ultra-light aircraft to use the property when the model club, New River Valley Aces, isn’t using it.
Acting on behalf of his constituents, Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp presented Pulaski Town Council Tuesday with a petition signed by more than 100 residents of the community. The petition requests that the New River Valley Aces no longer be able to fly their model planes at Loving Field.
The petition did not address the ultra-light issue as Tuesday’s work session was the first time it was revealed that ultra-light aircraft enthusiasts want to use the property as well.
Town Parks and Facilities Director Dave Hart said he recently met with members of the community and the club in an effort to reach a compromise between the two. Town Council had requested the groups try to reach a compromise after complaints about the club resurfaced at a February town council meeting.
He said the Aces offered to limit the use of the louder gas engine model planes to two days a week and use quieter electric engines at other times.
"Unfortunately, we didn’t reach any compromise," Hart told council members.
Given the new request, Mayor Jeff Worrell suggested both issues be placed on a future agenda for consideration simultaneously "since the two issues are so closely related." He requested that representatives of each group be present at the meeting.
As for the model airplane club, Worrell said "I’m sure it’s a great hobby and they’ll be the first to admit they keep getting squeezed out" of properties where they try to enjoy their hobby.
In past meetings it has been pointed out that the club has been forced to move to new locations several times.
Councilman Morgan Welker questioned how town council could justify telling the club it has to move elsewhere "if they’re not breaking any laws.
"It’s public property. It would be like saying we don’t want people throwing Frisbees and telling them they have to leave."
Welker said he thinks town staff has "done more than they needed to do" to try to remedy the problem.
"If they’re not willing to compromise, I don’t see what else we can do," he added. "If the county wants to regulate (the club) they can. Maybe we should just sell the property and (residents) could complain to someone else."
The ball fields at Loving field are to be turned over to Pulaski County soon.
As for the section of property used by the club, Town Manager John Hawley said the town has received offers on it, so selling it is feasible.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. said it is his opinion "there should be room for compromise." He noted that he would have a hard time "squashing" a person’s hobby.
Councilman H.M. Kidd asked whether the former landfill property on Draper’s Mountain might be an alternative site for the club since it is more isolated from residential areas.
Hawley said he would have to check into it, but it’s possible Virginia Department of Environmental Quality or the National Guard Armory might object.
Bopp said residents are concerned about the noise, the safety of motorists and children using the ball fields and potential damage to their property.
"The airplane club has just run out of room," he said, noting that the model planes are crashing and plane owners are climbing over farmers’ fences to retrieve them.
Although a club member told town council in February that members always have control of the airplanes, Bopp noted, "if it’s mechanical, anything can happen.
"It’s just time for (the club) to move somewhere else," he said.
A resident of the Dora Highway community asked why the town doesn’t do something about radios blaring from cars if there is concern about noise from the model airplanes.
"Model airplanes have to have some place to fly. They’re not that much trouble and noise," he said.
Robinson Tract resident Sharon Richardson disagrees.
In a letter to town council, she contends that club members have not only harassed her, but have put her life in danger by having one of the planes hover over her t-top Firebird as she drove by Loving Field.
"To think that someone found that type of behavior amusing in any way is reprehensible – to find amusement in endangering someone’s life is sadistic," Richardson writes. If that is the "games" they play with motorists, she questioned what they are doing to nearby livestock.
She recalled that children were prohibited from riding go-carts on the property because of the noise. She asked, "how in the world can anyone justify that this type of thing is any better?"
Worrell asked that both issues be placed on the April 7 meeting agenda. "It’s time we put an end to this once and for all," he said.