Horry Co. Council considers terminating Huffman Helicopters lease

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Council is meeting on Tuesday to discuss terminating the lease for Huffman Helicopters to operate in the area.

WMBF News received information that if approved, this would serve as a legal notice for Huffman Helicopters that the county no longer has an interest in an agreement with them. Horry County councilman Marion Foxworth says it's because of the noise, and how it is affecting neighborhoods in the area.

But the county may not have a choice in the matter. WMBF also talked to owner Jeremy Bass with Huffman Helicopters, and his response is that this decision could have legal consequences since his business operates at the airport. The federal government gave the county that land, and the deed restriction says the county can't discriminate against certain types of aircraft using the facility. Bass says terminating the lease could affect the jobs of more than 60 workers.

The county has to act fast on this resolution, because if they do not give notice of ending the agreement about 90 days before it happens, the agreement automatically renews for another five years.

If the Horry County Council decides to vote to terminate the lease, it opens up the option to negotiate a new one with Huffman Helicopters. This would be one with restrictions, like the flight path, for example. The change would also set the tone for other helicopter operations in Myrtle Beach. There are three operations right now in the area.

"They deserve peace and quiet if you're gonna have a house there," said Drew Wood, who lives in the area. "They buy a house. Pay taxes. Yes I think they do deserve a say."

WMBF News is told this is the first step to major changes when it comes to how and where helicopters operate in Myrtle Beach.

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