If approved, the new law would amend
the Unified Development Code to specifically permit designated
areas for the machines to land and take off as an accessory use
on properties with other than a residential zoning
classification. They could be situated at ground level or atop
presently is silent about the use of helicopters, but other
jurisdictions have taken to regulating them as their numbers
have proliferated, largely as a result of their use by major
corporations.. The proposed New Castle County ordinance takes
note of "a recent increase in the number of new helicopter
landing facilities" and concludes that they raise
noise-pollution and safety concerns, especially in residential
specific examples are cited, but a proposal by Astra Zeneca Plc.
to eliminate a deed restriction prohibiting a helicopter pad in
the Blue Ball Triangle, where it is building a headquarters and
research laboratory expansion, drew considerable local
opposition last year. That proposal was dropped as a tradeoff
to achieve quick county approval of the overall project, but
company officials then noted that nothing would prevent having a
pad somewhere on the other part of the Brandywine Hundred
property. That lies next to the Rollins Building, where a
rooftop pad has drawn community opposition for many years.
District Councilman Robert Weiner has agreed to sponsor the
proposed new ordinance.
helicopter pad could be constructed and operated, a property
owner would have to demonstrate to the Department of Land Use
that it meets technical requirements and obtain a permit. There
is no provision, however, for public notification about or a
public hearing on the application.
and public-safety organizations would have to obtain a permit,
but would be required to adhere to less stringent requirements.
granting its endorsement of the proposed ordinance, the
department said that a provision there be a 500-foot separation
between a pad and the nearest residentially zoned property is in
keeping with the apparent standard followed by other
200-foot buffer would be required between the pad and an
adjoining property zoned for commercial use. There would also be
a requirement that a pad could not be located less than a
half-mile from another pad.
department also agreed to a noise limitation of 95.0 dB
single-event exposure level, which the department also found to
be in keeping with what is required elsewhere. The Federal
Aviation Administration, it noted, does not regulate helicopter
county ordinance would further provide that no helicopter could
pass lower than 300 feet above a residential area when
approaching or leaving the pad. Such maneuvers would have to be
carried out under visual, rather than instrument, flight rules.
auxiliary buildings or support facilities, such as waiting
rooms, could be included as part of the site, which would have
to be fenced or protected by some kind of natural barrier.
a provision which states that a pad could only be used for
business purposes and specifically forbids joyriding by
corporate executives' families and friends -- although it is not
stated how such a prohibition might be enforced.
Generally, however, the permit to
operate a pad could be revoked upon a finding that it was not
being operated in compliance with provisions in the application
on which a permit is granted.