Flights grounded

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Council delays proposed helipad to September

By Sean Kennedy

The Halliburton helicopter saga will continue at least another month, with Fort Lupton City Council members voting to delay their decision on the company’s proposed helipad operation until Sept. 17.

The council cited a need to review new information in their decision, noting a late addition to Halliburton’s application materials and data brought forth by citizens during a public hearing on the matter. 

Permit plans call for flights from Halliburton’s Weld County facility six times a day - three in the morning and three in the evening. The helicopters are expected to emit between 58 and 78 decibels of noise (about as loud as a car) when flying at 1,000 feet, before reaching an altitude of 2,500 feet, according to a noise study done by the company.

Halliburton held an open house and test flight on June 16 at its Fort Lupton site, 2990 County Road 27, an event attended by members of the planning commission and city council, and some members of the public. Company officials said they were disappointed they didn’t receive larger turnout from the public at the event. 

Resident comments during the public hearing mirrored those of previous meetings on the proposed helipad. Several citizens from the city and county criticized the proposal and voiced concerns ranging from the noise of the aircraft to the potential effects on livestock, quality of life, property values and environmental impact. Others questioned the legality of the operation with regards to Weld County noise regulations.

If approved, Halliburton’s helicopters would be regulated only by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Todd Hodges, planning director. The company would be able to change flight times and paths without needing city approval, he said. If Halliburton wanted to add flights, officials would need another permit, depending on the size and scale of the plans, Hodges has said.

“Responses to the permit proposal can be flexible depending on what we want to do,” Hodges said at the May meeting of the planning commission. “We could word it so that any changes to or deviations from the site details could be scrutinized by our office.”