Helicopter pilot loses his bid to turn backyard into airfield

Published: Saturday, Mar. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2B

The Elk Grove Planning Commission on Thursday denied a helicopter pilot's request to fly in and out of his backyard.

John Hamilton, owner of a 2-acre spread on Corfu Drive, filed a request to change city code to allow for heliports in rural Elk Grove backyards.

The planning body voted 4-0 to deny his request with one commissioner abstaining because he lives near Hamilton. Hamilton's property is near Calvine and Excelsior roads.

Hamilton has flown in and out of his property numerous times over the years as part of his small charter business. Some neighbors on the rural east side of Elk Grove have complained about the noise and low flyovers, prompting city officials to order Hamilton to stop in 2011.

Hamilton runs Sacramento Executive Helicopters, in business since 1986, according to its website. He now bases his company's helicopter at Rancho Murieta Airport, a dozen miles east, city officials said.

Hamilton submitted a petition signed by neighbors in support with the simple request: "Please allow John Hamilton to operate his helicopter from his residence."

– Bill Lindelof

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