Helistop opponent Cindy Bray of East Manatee’s Panther Ridge can’t say how the Manatee County Commission will vote Thursday on the project she has fought for more than a year.
“It will be a long day,” Bray said this week of the packed county commission agenda.
The county commission chambers are likely to be packed, too, with other Panther Ridge residents who have opposed the helistop at The Concession Golf Club as being disruptive to their rural peace and quiet, and a danger to those who enjoy riding horses.
To date, opponents of the helistop are 1 for 3 in their battle against the helistop. The Manatee County Planning staff has said the helistop is consistent with county land-use rules, and the county planning commission recommended approval in a 4-2 vote.
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Even though helistop opponents have racked up only one win so far, it was a significant win.
Well, we are looking for the commission to do the right thing and say no to this application.
In May, the Florida Department of Transportation issued a cease-and-desist order to immediately halt air operations into and out of the The Concession, which borders Panther Ridge.
The order cited the “failure to comply with state and federal statutes and regulations regarding the establishment and operation of a helistop/airport.”
Since May, there have been no more flights into or out of The Concession, Bray said.
Owners of The Concession initially submitted plans for The Concession in March 2015, saying there would be only two daylight landings per month.
The county commission vote was set for May 5, before being pushed back to June 2, and then to Sept. 1.
“Well, we are looking for the commission to do the right thing and say no to this application,” Bray said this week. “You can’t land helicopters anywhere that you want. You have to have a permit.”
Daniella Drillman, a Panther Ridge resident whose home is less than 200 feet from the proposed helistop, is strongly opposed to a permit being granted.
“It’s really an unsafe and incompatible situation,” Drillman said.
There is no time certain for the helistop to come before the county commission. The vote will be in the commission’s chambers on the first floor of the County Administrative Center, 1112 Manatee Ave. W. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.