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Non-emergency helicopter landings at Sofitel opposed

Click to read the letter Two elected officials sent a letter Friday urging the California Department of Transportation to reject any proposal to allow non-emergency helicopter touchdowns on the roof of the Sofitel hotel in Los Angeles.

In a letter to Caltrans director Cindy McKim, state Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said allowing non-emergency flights at the hotel would be "incompatible with the health, safety, and well-being" of nearby residents and "should be prohibited."

Since the 1970s, all Los Angeles buildings over 75 feet high have been required to have emergency helicopter landing pads. But last year the Sofitel allowed at least one person to use the pad for non-emergencies -- Hollywood producer Ryan Kavanaugh, whose company, Relativity Media, is headquartered nearby.

Residents complained to officials. In December, an aviation safety officer from the California Department of Transportation, which issues permits for helipads, sent a letter to hotel management ordering that any illegal helicopter activity cease immediately.

It did cease. But earlier this year, the hotel announced that it plans to apply for a temporary helistop permit that would allow for non-emergency landings and takeoffs.

A letter sent to residents by a consultant for the hotel said that hours and flights would be limited and that flight paths would skirt their neighborhood.

No official application has been submitted yet. But the hotel, which is in Los Angeles, won backing from L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz, who last week sent a letter to Caltrans in support of the temporary permit.

In their letter Friday, Feuer and Yaroslavsky said non-emergency flights at the Sofitel could set a bad precedent.

"Allowing the private use of helipads that were originally built to provide emergency access would threaten to create a precedent for such a use throughout highly populated areas," they wrote.

"It would, at the very least, invite a flood of similar applications that beg the question: If non-emergency access is allowed here, why shouldn't it be allowed everywhere?"

-- Kate Linthicum

 
Comments () | Archives (13)

Beverly Wilshire Homes Association, will be discussing this issue at thier Monday, April 4, 2011 community meeting being held at 7:00 P.M. at Farmer's Market Community room

What's the big deal? Helicopters are cool. I wouldn't mind the occasional landing in my 'hood.

As a helicopter pilot, I'm biased, I suppose. Either that or better informed.

In a city like Los Angeles, where traffic sucks most of the time and public transportation is even worse, why not allow efficient travel to commercial locations such as hotels?

A drive from Sofitel to LAX is 45 min or more during drive time while a helicopter flight is about 12 minutes. The fuel used and the safety are comparable.


Arrogance, arrogance, arrogance ! Blank the public, let the super rich do what they want !

Arrogance, arrogance, arrogance !

Why was Sheriff Baca's role left out of this article? As with both Koeretz and Baca, follow the money. The $ donated to their respective projects seem to absolve them of ethical or common-sense standards.

I am in 100% agreement with Supervisor Yaroslavsky and Assemblyman Feuer; allowing non-emergency flights at the hotel would be "incompatible with the health, safety, and well-being" of nearby residents and "should be prohibited."

The hotel immediately abuts a dense residential neighborhood. West Hollywood is already plagued by the the constancy of news and paparazzi helicopters that make it impossible at times to remain outdoors - or even indoors without excessive and disruptive noise.

Emergency assess is one matter, but creating havoc for an entire neighborhood for the commuting convience of a single individual is absurd and should not be allowed.

Jeffrey Prang
City Councilmember
West Hollywood

I am in 100% agreement with Supervisor Yaroslavsky and Assemblyman Feuer; allowing non-emergency flights at the hotel would be "incompatible with the health, safety, and well-being" of nearby residents and "should be prohibited."

The hotel immediately abuts a dense residential neighborhood. West Hollywood is already plagued by the the constancy of news and paparazzi helicopters that make it impossible at times to remain outdoors - or even indoors without excessive and disruptive noise.

Emergency assess is one matter, but creating havoc for an entire neighborhood for the commuting convience of a single individual is absurd and should not be allowed.

Jeffrey Prang
City Councilmember
West Hollywood

@jasa26:
If you would like to reduce car traffic congestion in LA you need to focus on buliding an elaborate subway system. Allowing helicopters fly to hotels or shopping malls would not solve the street congestion. In fact, if your fellow pilots start abusing more and more their flying privileges by braking the existing laws, like in this situation, all the other decent and disciplined pilots will end up paying for it once new laws are enacted. And Patrick, If your 6 year old's school playground was 50 feet away from a landing pad I don't think you would think that the smell of the fuel, the dust from the trees, the deafening noise and the vibration were cool.

Wow, here is sofitel with a positive idea getting shotdown by a city who can't manage their own expenses

Stop coddling the rich. Chopper flights like these are a threat to public safety - plain and simple.

Patrick... helicopters are cool? Oh then - let's use your roof to land them.
jsa26... you're biased or better informed? Piloting a helicopter is not the same as being under one. Nobody is arguing traffic, driving time or fuel. We are talking quality of life in our homes, while the hotel that looms within feet of our rooftops and over children in school is pleasing an elite clientele and imposing a manifest danger.
freshcoldbeer.com...
"a positive idea getting shotdown by a city who can't manage their own expenses". Huh? Please explain what's positive about setting the precedent of having helicopters flying all over Los Angeles? That's just what L.A. needs - air traffic with nobody in charge. What does this have to do with expenses?

This is a hairbrained idea. But it confirms what I suspected when I saw increased copter traffic in the area and it clearly was not emergency or medical evacuation traffic.

This area is designated by the FAA as a helicopter hotspot due to the intensity of papparazzi and news media circling overhead. The FAA has warned pilots away from the area due to congestion and complaints.

It reached a fevered pitch when Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan were escorted to court. The noise and vibration bounces off the Hollywood Hills and radiates throughout much of the westside. The vibration penetrates homes and other buildings and is enormously disruptive.

But let's take a closer look. A school with a playground is located right behind this hotel. Additionally, there is a dense residential community. What would happen if that chopper has a problem or gets hit with a sudden downdraft and loses control?

I strongly support the safety, peace and quiet of the residents and school over an over-indulged executive with too many toys.

isn't that why there is a permit system? to determine on a case by case basis whether to allow it or not. and to put some controls in place to prevent abuses. we should be allowed to do things as long as it isnt detrimental to others, and the burden of proof should be placed on others


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