Neighbors upset over approval of temporary helipads for F-1

Late into the evening, neighbors near a proposed helipad at Mopac complain at the City Council meeting about the noise they expect the entire weekend of Formula One. 

Ann Kitchen was one of those neighbors. She says the ordinance allowing operation of helicopters near the Barton Hills neighborhood is full of holes, "There's no definition of temporary so you can have almost 200 flights and call that temporary over three consecutive days.  There's no notification of the impact of neighbors or businesses.  There's absolutely zero public input process.  It's all been at the discretion of one person."

The person is Jim Smith, Director of the Austin Aviation Department. He announced yesterday he had approved the permits for two helipads to operate inside the city limits. Smith limited the hours of operation to 8 a-m and 6 p-m. Council did pass limits that would allow for only 18 takeoffs and landings per permit, but that action will not affect the permits Smith already approved.

In other council action, they approved annexation of the COTA track. and a resolution asking the Lower Colorado River Authority to seek an extension of the Emergency measures curtailing water releases from Lakes Travis and Buchanan again next year. The lakes are currently only 43-percent full and we could be heading into a dry winter.

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