Helicopter Adventures may be forced to shut down

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A Myrtle Beach helicopter tour company might be forced to shut down.

On Monday night the Horry County Zoning Board of Appeals voted to overturn a decision by a county zoning administrator which allowed Helicopter Adventures owner Freddie Rick to operate his business near Broadway at the Beach and several neighborhoods in Myrtle Beach.

The 4 to 3 vote was a big victory for homeowners who have been complaining about the noise from Helicopter Adventures ever since the business opened.

Plantation Point Resident Rick Hinde filed the appeal against helicopter adventures for people living nearby, and says he understands Freddie Rick has been put in a difficult position, but that doesn't change his desire to shut the company down.

"I do feel bad for Mr. Rick in the sense that he did come in and put money and invest in this property and he got an approval from the county," Hinde said. "The county shouldn't have ever approved it"

Horry County officials say the decision means helicopter adventures is not considered a company that should be allowed to operate in their current location.

At this point, both Horry County Spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier and Horry County Planning Director Janet Carter say Helicopter Adventures has not been ordered to shut down, and Carter says it appears likely that the zoning board of appeals' decision will be appealed in circuit court.

Hinde says about twenty neighbors are chipping in for a lawyer to represent those living nearby, and they plan to continue fighting until Helicopter Adventures is gone.

"It's going to fall on us, even though they made a mistake, we're still going to have to pursue this in circuit court," Hinde said.

Helicopter Adventures Owner Freddie Rick chose not to comment on the decision, or on what he plans to do next.  County officials say Rick will have thirty days to appeal the decision once it has been printed and signed by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

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