Residents all ears to hear government's solution to helicopters noise

Thursday afternoon Horry County's Public Safety Committee will meet, partly to discuss concerns from dozens of neighbors over noise from helicopters flying over or near their homes.

"If I had known about this before, I would have bought my house somewhere else," said Dr. Ed Cain, who recently moved to the area.

The majority of the complaints include noise and safety concerns of a new business, Helicopter Adventures. The business's website says they operate from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week, weather permitting. They offer short rides for just $20 and packages go up to a 52 mile tour of the Grand Strand for $180.

"It's just the beginning. In a couple of weeks when it's tourist season..." Horry County Councilman Brent Schulz trails off in his office. He says he has been overwhelmed with a high volume of calls from residents in his district, which borders where the helicopter business is.

Schulz says county council was never made aware of the business until after it opened, which upsets him because he says they should have been notified about the zoning.

As of right now, Schulz says county zoning doesn't have a specification for helicopter landing pads. According to documents obtained by NewsChannel 15, on Nov. 22, 2011 zoning compliance was issued for the helicopter business as amusement commercial.

But the examples of establishments Horry County lists as amusement commercial don't include a helicopter tour or landing pad. It lists theatres, billiard halls, poll halls, bowling alleys, water slides, skating rinks, dance halls, shooting galleries, gift and novelty shop, taverns, clubs, amusement parks, piers, arcades, miniature and par three golf, driving ranges, boardwalks, bath houses, and sight seeing depots.

"What you got to do is look and see do these things fit along. If I was building a theme park would I put a heliport in the middle? No I would not," Schulz said.

Schulz doesn't expect the issue to be settled with tomorrow's meeting.

"What we're trying to do is figure out how we got to where we are right now, and how we can fix this problem. I want to see if I can get to the bottom of it," he said.