On behalf of the neighborhood greatly affected by the new heliport at LCMC/Children’s Hospital, this letter is in response to that of Dr. Stephen Hales’ letter of Sept. 24.
For the last decade, we amicably coexisted with LCMC’s use of a landing pad located at the rear of its facility, which still exists on its sprawling 14-acre campus. However, in May, LCMC changed its flight path to proceed directly over the neighborhood and began operating a new heliport immediately across the street from the neighbors — a use not allowed in this area, according to city ordinances.
Neighbors’ concerns have been characterized as a noise complaint. Yes, operations are loud. Neighbors have measured levels from the high 80s to 100-plus decibels, in excess of limits set by the Federal Aviation Administration and Environmental Protection Agency.
Not mentioned were neighborhood homes shaking and windows rattling from the sheer power of the 1,480-horsepower, twin-engine jet aircraft taking off so close and flying so low over the neighborhood.
Not mentioned are neighbors who fear for their safety after witnessing the helicopter appear to flail and struggle for control in the wind at its new rooftop location. Hales does not mention that the new building was constructed without a building permit from the city, application to or approval from the Department of Transportation and Development Aviation Section, nor approval or determination by the FAA.
LCMC proceeded with full knowledge it lacked required permits. The gravity of such actions are felt no more than in this city, which has born witness to the consequences that can result if building processes are ignored or disregarded.
Instead of taking the responsible corporate path of admitting the mistake and remedying the situation, LCMC continues to use this unpermitted heliport, writes about the neighbors in the press and proposes no solution to this dangerous predicament. Because of this, 103 neighbors have appealed this illegal use to the zoning authority.
Although the appeal is pending, we continue to hope that the LCMC administration will do the right thing and return its operations to the rear of the property — where it operated safely and harmoniously for a decade.
While we support LCMC’s use of its helicopter, we urge that operations be conducted legally without harm to its neighbors.
DIANE S. MAYER