Controversial plans for chopper tour company in the works

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Greg Argos - bio | email

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A new helicopter tour company could be setting up shop beside Freestyle Music Park, but the location that's surrounded by a roller coaster, power lines and flight paths is already causing controversy.

"I have some doubts that it's the proper location," said Frank Portway, who lives near the site.

Portway says he doesn't think it's a safe location.

"[Near the site], you have road hazards, air hazards - you have a lot of hazards. To me, they really need to look for a better location," he said.

There is also the concern about noise affecting nearby neighborhoods, but Mia Chamberlain, who lives less than a quarter mile from the area, isn't too worried.

"I've got used to the airplanes," she said. "The more you live here, the more you get used to them. You hear them when they're really low, but otherwise, you don't pay attention."

The debate continued Wednesday during an Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation meeting.

"We've looked at this at many different ways," said Alain Wizman, who represents business owners surrounding the site.

Wizman says the goal is to simply improve an area devastated by the economy.

"The businesses are all in favor with anything that would stimulate activity in the area, and that's exactly what we're trying to accomplish," he stated.

Despite the possible economic up tick, committee members like Gary Loftus say the safety aspect is their top concern.

"I'll support them in any endeavor. I just don't think this is the right one at that place at this time," said Loftus.

The committee decided to send the proposal to the Horry County Council with disapproval. All 12 council members will debate the proposal during the May 18 meeting.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.