The Hall County Planning Commission approved the use of a helipad at a private residence in South Hall on Monday.
The meeting was packed with supporters of Dr. William Moscow, a Roswell eye doctor who uses his helicopter to fly to his vacation home in Hall County.
Moscow has used the helipad at his home at the intersection of Gaines Ferry Road and Sea Gals Road since 2001, but claimed he did not know he needed county approval to do so. The issue came before the Planning Commission as a result of a neighbor’s complaints.
"I was not aware of the limitations when I started," Moscow said.
Many of Moscow’s neighbors from the adjoining Summer Crest Four Seasons on Lanier subdivision came to support his occasional helicopter use.
"We have no noise problems, no window problems, no nothing," said Kevin Gallagher.
Many neighbors spoke to the minimal impact of the helicopter, which they said flies only during the day over Lake Lanier and causes little noise.
Chad Black of Air Methods Corp. pointed to the potential emergency medical uses of the helipad, which Moscow has offered in the event of emergencies in his area.
Black said the helipad could be used should someone in an accident on the nearby lake or roads need to be airlifted to a trauma center.
"About 90 percent of the lake calls are in that immediate area," Black said of the popular area near Lake Lanier Islands. "There’s no place to land."
But Moscow’s neighbor, Doug Weiss, said there are many reasons why the helipad should not be allowed.
"Only one person’s going to be benefitting from this helipad," Weiss said. "This is for pleasure and convenience."
Weiss said he is bothered by the noise of the helicopter and believes a helipad has no place in a residential neighborhood. Planning Commission Chairman Don Smallwood said "though we don’t see much of this," he supported the request.
"I really don’t see anything wrong with what he’s trying to do," Smallwood said.
The commission voted unanimously to OK the rezoning request to allow the use of the helicopter.