New Attraction Causes Controversy
Elissa Jarvis, Lead Reporter Thursday, August 09, 2012
Living in Myrtle Beach can be an exercise in patience. Yes, locals get the opportunity to be three minutes away from the beach and rejoice in the lovely Myrtle Beach weather. On the other hand, living at one of the biggest tourists attractions on the East Coast has its drawbacks.
Recently a new company, Helicopter Adventures, set up shop here at Broadway at the Beach and opened Memorial Day weekend. Helicopter Adventures does helicopter tours over Myrtle Beach ranging from 2-mile trips to 52 mile trips around the Grand Strand. Participants can buy tickets at Broadway at the Beach and a free shuttle will take them to the Helicopter launch site at 21st Avenue North behind NASCAR Speedpark. The area where the launch and landing pad is located is zoned for amusements-commercial, which is what a helicopter tour would fall under. But located just a few feet away is a residential community.
Residents of area have been outraged by the new attraction, claiming that the noise from the helicopters taking off and landing all day is unbearable. In June, residents showed up to a Horry County Public Safety Committee meeting to voice their displeasure. According to WPDE, Resident Michael Rose said "It's like I live near a MASH unit.” Residents claim that the noise from the helicopters violates a local noise ordinance, which states no noise level above 60 decibels can be recorded from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m, which is when Helicopter Adventures does most of their business.
In fairness to Helicopter Adventures, they filled out and filed all the necessary paperwork to be located at 21st Avenue. The Horry County Planning and Zoning department approved the location to build a helicopter attraction and the area is zoned for amusements. In hopes of appeasing the residents, Helicopter Adventures has changed their routes so that the helicopters aren’t flying over the neighborhood, but residents are still not happy. According to the Sun News, a group of residents has appealed “the zoning board’s decision to allow Helicopter Adventures to operate off 21st Avenue North to the zoning board of appeals. The board will look at the case and the zoning ordinance and decide whether Helicopter Adventures violates anything in the ordinance.” The hearing is scheduled for next Monday, August 13th, at 5:30 at the Horry County Government Center.
Helicopter Adventures is hardly the only helicopter tour in Myrtle Beach; at any given moment you can look up and see a helicopter flying overhead. But the story begs the question: yes, residents know when they move to Myrtle Beach that it is a tourist attraction, but does that give new attractions the right to disrupt people’s lives? What do you think?