Helicopter attraction to change flight route

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -  Horry County Council met Tuesday and voted to pass a resolution that states it will not renew its lease agreement with Huffman Helicopters once it expires October 31, 2013. However, an amendment was added to the resolution that would allow Huffman Helicopters to renegotiate a new lease with the county.

Horry County councilman Marion Foxworth said the resolution was drafted because of the noise from the helicopters, and how it is affecting neighborhoods in the area.

"Our vote tonight is not necessarily the end all to helicopter entertainment businesses. That debate's coming," Foxworth said.

Horry County Chairman Mark Lazarus said the purpose of the resolution was not to take away any jobs.

"It's certainly not the intent of anybody to put people out of business," Lazarus said.

Huffman Helicopters Owner Jeremy Bass said he was pleased with the county's decision to add the amendment into the resolution that would allow for renegotiation.

"We're gonna add in the routes which was one of Councilman Foxworth's concerns which we're sensitive to was to get the flights away from the city out over the ocean," Bass said.

Bass said his company has worked hard to meet all the proper certifications and standards, and they work to maintain a good relationship with the people who live nearby.

"You don't get there by operating recklessly or disregard to the public , your neighbor, surroundings. We're very proud of that and I think council recognizes that," Bass said.

Other changes could also be included in the new lease, such as the times the helicopters are permitted in the air. Those resolutions will be ultimately left up to council to decide at a later date.

Huffman Helicopters has been operating in Horry County since 2002.

Bass said of the roughly 200,000 flights that have launched from the site, there have been zero accidents or safety incidences.

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