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Town may let planes fly at Loving Field

No vote was taken Tuesday night, but it appears Pulaski Town Council is inclined to allow radio-controlled airplanes to continue flying at Loving Field, but with restrictions.
Since no compromise could be reached between the hobbyists and residents of the area, town council instructed the staff to develop some guidelines and restrictions for council to consider at a later meeting.
“It troubles me that there is no willingness to compromise,” Councilman Morgan Welker said. He noted that the New River Valley Aces had offered to only fly planes two days a week, but residents were not willing to accept that offer. He suggested the town develop conditions for the club’s continued use of the property.
“I’ve been through this once already,” said Resident Patsy Akers, whose family used to own the property in question. She contends the group agreed to a schedule in the past but didn’t follow it for long.
Vice Mayor David Clark said he understands residents’ concerns about noise from the model airplanes. However, he said he tends to agree with Welker.
“I think we should allow (the club) to continue for now (with restrictions) and continue to look for another site” for them to use,” Clark said. “We could them work under (restrictions) for a set period of time, then see where we go for that.”
He equated telling the club to move on to “shutting down a business because we don’t want them there.”
At council’s last work session, there was discussion about the club possibly using the old landfill on Drapers Mountain. However, Town Manager John Hawley said he checked into that and found out there are issues preventing their use of the property.
Councilman Joe Burchett Jr. suggested some kind of registry be used so residents could report violators. Then those people could be prohibited from using the site. He agreed with restrictions being developed.
Both Burchett and Mayor Jeff Worrell said flying the radio-controlled airplanes is a worthwhile hobby.
Burchett reminded everyone that “real airplanes” used the airstrip at Loving Field in the past and “everybody lived with that okay.”
However, Worrell pointed out that one thing has changed since those days. “We’re talking about a much smaller piece of land now than they had when they started,” he said, referring to the fact the town has sold much of the property over the years.
“I think there’s coming a time sooner than later when the town won’t own any property out there,” Worrell commented.
Welker said town council doesn’t have the authority to regulate airspace.
Councilman Robert Bopp said he thinks the residents have a legitimate complaint and that the situation needs to be addressed in some way.
Bopp’s father, Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp, is requesting, on behalf of his constituents, that the club be told to move elsewhere. “They’ve just simply run out of space out there,” Charles Bopp told council Tuesday night.
Akers and her husband, Wayne, brought in a piece of a wing found on their property. He said he is always finding pieces of – and even whole – planes on their property.
Patsy Akers said they spent $14,000 to have a new fence installed last year and it has been damaged by people trying to gain access to retrieve airplanes that have crashed on their land.
The Akers’ contend the hobbyists “go out of their way to harass us.”
New River Valley Aces President Clint Ison Jr. said he has never observed anyone using an airplane to harass the residents. He pointed out the club carries insurance to cover any property damage they might cause.
As for Welker’s statement that they had agreed to fly only two days a week, Ison said the agreement was to only fly the louder gasoline planes two days a week. He said they want to be able to fly the electric planes any day.
Doug Slade said he has been flying remote-controlled airplanes for 20 years. He noted that many of the children who become involved in the hobby go on to either join the Air Force or get pilot licenses.
Robert Bopp asked what council intended to do about the situation pending development of regulations.
Worrell said things would continue as they are if no vote is taken.
“All we can do is ask that (club members) please be courteous” to the residents, said Councilman H.M. Kidd.

Town may let planes fly at Loving Field

No vote was taken Tuesday night, but it appears Pulaski Town Council is inclined to allow radio-controlled airplanes to continue flying at Loving Field, but with restrictions.
Since no compromise could be reached between the hobbyists and residents of the area, town council instructed the staff to develop some guidelines and restrictions for council to consider at a later meeting.
“It troubles me that there is no willingness to compromise,” Councilman Morgan Welker said. He noted that the New River Valley Aces had offered to only fly planes two days a week, but residents were not willing to accept that offer. He suggested the town develop conditions for the club’s continued use of the property.
“I’ve been through this once already,” said Resident Patsy Akers, whose family used to own the property in question. She contends the group agreed to a schedule in the past but didn’t follow it for long.
Vice Mayor David Clark said he understands residents’ concerns about noise from the model airplanes. However, he said he tends to agree with Welker.
“I think we should allow (the club) to continue for now (with restrictions) and continue to look for another site” for them to use,” Clark said. “We could them work under (restrictions) for a set period of time, then see where we go for that.”
He equated telling the club to move on to “shutting down a business because we don’t want them there.”
At council’s last work session, there was discussion about the club possibly using the old landfill on Drapers Mountain. However, Town Manager John Hawley said he checked into that and found out there are issues preventing their use of the property.
Councilman Joe Burchett Jr. suggested some kind of registry be used so residents could report violators. Then those people could be prohibited from using the site. He agreed with restrictions being developed.
Both Burchett and Mayor Jeff Worrell said flying the radio-controlled airplanes is a worthwhile hobby.
Burchett reminded everyone that “real airplanes” used the airstrip at Loving Field in the past and “everybody lived with that okay.”
However, Worrell pointed out that one thing has changed since those days. “We’re talking about a much smaller piece of land now than they had when they started,” he said, referring to the fact the town has sold much of the property over the years.
“I think there’s coming a time sooner than later when the town won’t own any property out there,” Worrell commented.
Welker said town council doesn’t have the authority to regulate airspace.
Councilman Robert Bopp said he thinks the residents have a legitimate complaint and that the situation needs to be addressed in some way.
Bopp’s father, Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp, is requesting, on behalf of his constituents, that the club be told to move elsewhere. “They’ve just simply run out of space out there,” Charles Bopp told council Tuesday night.
Akers and her husband, Wayne, brought in a piece of a wing found on their property. He said he is always finding pieces of – and even whole – planes on their property.
Patsy Akers said they spent $14,000 to have a new fence installed last year and it has been damaged by people trying to gain access to retrieve airplanes that have crashed on their land.
The Akers’ contend the hobbyists “go out of their way to harass us.”
New River Valley Aces President Clint Ison Jr. said he has never observed anyone using an airplane to harass the residents. He pointed out the club carries insurance to cover any property damage they might cause.
As for Welker’s statement that they had agreed to fly only two days a week, Ison said the agreement was to only fly the louder gasoline planes two days a week. He said they want to be able to fly the electric planes any day.
Doug Slade said he has been flying remote-controlled airplanes for 20 years. He noted that many of the children who become involved in the hobby go on to either join the Air Force or get pilot licenses.
Robert Bopp asked what council intended to do about the situation pending development of regulations.
Worrell said things would continue as they are if no vote is taken.
“All we can do is ask that (club members) please be courteous” to the residents, said Councilman H.M. Kidd.