What’s Next With the Helicopters?

I wanted to offer a few more thoughts and clarifications about the Rotors of the Rockies helicopter flights. First of all, I think it’s important that folks in the community understand that City Council did not approve either the ongoing service between Golden and DIA or the promotional event last Thursday. Had Rotors of the Rockies and Golden Hotel pursued their original proposal to land on city-owned property they would have required city approval, but my understanding of the city’s code is that there isn’t anything that prohibits helicopter landings within the city limits so long as they land and take off on private land. They will still have to comply with all federal and state rules, of course, but I don’t believe the city has any control over any of that, either.

Clearly a number of folks experienced some real disruptions or were at least inconvenienced by the promotional event last Thursday, and I very much appreciate the concerns that folks expressed here on the blog and elsewhere. Rotors of the Rockies says, however, that last Thursday was a one-time event and that they expect only a very small number of customers for the service. Given that, my inclination is to give it a little time to see how the program works out. If it really only happens once or twice a month and they figure out how to do it with minimal neighborhood disruption then it might not be a big deal. If they end up running helicopter flights more often or if even with low numbers it’s still really disruptive then I will be happy to work with other members of City Council to figure out the best solution. I haven’t any idea if we can prohibit the flights but would imagine – without having talked to our attorney – that we could at least impose reasonable restrictions that minimize the disruption.

It may also be that Rotors of the Rockies would be willing to make some changes in response to community complaints without requiring formal City Council action. It might not be a big challenge to figure out how they can land on pavement, for instance, and send less debris through the air. Likewise, maybe they can gain more altitude before flying over the city to minimize noise impacts to the neighbors below.

My ask of everyone is this: as their helicopter service continues, let City Council know how disruptive it ends up being, and to be clear about exactly what the problems are. If there are enough problems and we can’t fix them without formal City Council action then we’ll get more aggressive.

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