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Council to review helicopter ordinance for change, passage at Dec. 7 meeting

— An ordinance prohibiting helicopter landings and takeoffs within the municipal limits is before the Grangeville City Council. Last week, the council held a first reading on the proposed regulation, and at its Dec. 7 meeting the six-person board will consider the matter for adoption.

View proposed ordinance online

The public can view the proposed ordinance online at city hall or online at and click on “news.”

As it stands, the ordinance would prohibit helicopters from landing and departing within the city to either discharge or load passengers, materials or goods. For those wishing to do so, the ordinance sets up a permit process requiring city council approval, a request for which can be made no more than 365 days prior to the proposed event.

The proposed ordinance also allows for helicopter activity to be authorized by the chief of police or his designee in the event of an emergency to protect public safety.

For clarification, the regulation applies only to helicopter activity that is not conducted on landing sites approved by the council through the conditional use permitting process.

Violation of the ordinance would be a misdemeanor, punishable by maximum penalties of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

At the Dec. 7 meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m., the ordinance will be at the second reading, at which time changes may be proposed. An ordinance is required to go through three readings – which may be waived at council discretion -- prior to being considered for adoption.

As stated within the ordinance, its purpose is to provide for the protection of the public health, safety and general welfare within the city. The regulation change has been up for discussion by the city for the last two months, growing out of a related issue earlier this spring involving a proposed Main Street helipad to service Syringa Hospital. That request was subsequently denied by the council, but during discussion the issue was raised by helipad supporters that other helicopter activity – specifically, the EMT Spring Fling and Grangeville High School Sober graduation events -- was happening within city limits, revealing to the council a gap in ordinance guidelines and an oversight process.


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