Reporting Steve Large
ELK GROVE (CBS13) – A helicopter in the backyard of an Elk Grove residence has created a very unusual neighborly dispute.
John Hamilton lives in an affluent section of Elk Grove on a two-acre parcel on Corfu Drive.
“It’s a beautiful community, we bought here to be in the country,” said a neighbor.
The homes are huge, the yards are humongous and at his home, a helicopter sits inside the garage.
“It’s a Bell 206 LongRanger,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton owns a chartered helicopter company and had been landing on and taking off from a helipad on his property — until a neighbor complained.
Hamilton applied for a special zoning exemption with the Elk Grove Planning Commission for his backyard helipad, which led to packed chambers at the planning commission’s meeting Thursday. Supporters and opponents lined up in a challenge over Hamilton’s chopper.
“I just want to put in a request that you do not accept this. I know people have to work, but come on,” said an opponent.
Hamilton does have some supporters. The family who lives across the street from Hamilton is happy to have a helicopter take off and land.
“I think he should be able to land his helicopter right across the street on his two acres. I rarely hear it, and if I do, I usually run out just to wave and say hi,” neighbor Carrie Vellutini said.
However, facing the backlash, at one point, Hamilton asked the commission to table his permit request, backing off his backyard helipad hopes.
“I don’t want to make anyone mad. I live in this neighborhood; I love this neighborhood and I want to keep everyone happy,” Hamilton said.
But later, the planning commission did consider his permit request. They voted 4-0 denying the permit.
Hamilton says his backyard helicopter garage is now a $125,000 money pit.