Old Homosassa neighbors fight planned helipad

- The idea of buzzing helicopters and a private helipad is not what many residents living along Mason Creek envision as peace and tranquility.

But that's what their new neighbor, John "Hi" Sierra, a Tampa land developer, wants on the edge of his waterfront property. 

"When he comes and lands, he's going to flush out all the birds," Gina Wright, a neighbor, said. "If somebody puts a helicopter there, you're going to take away from the serenity of the area."

Sierra's neighbors are concerned Citrus County Officials could grant Sierra a conditional-use application to land and park a Robinson R-44 Helicopter or a Robinson R-22 Helicopter on the property.

"I just can't see it. I just can't, and it has to stop," Diane Toto, another neighbor, said. "The county has to vote this down. And if they don't then they're actually guilty of a crime because they're voting for something that they know or should know, because they wrote the code."

Last week, The Florida Department of Transportation sent Sierra a cease and desist letter preventing him from landing on the property since he doesn't have the proper permits for what FDOT considers an airport.

"According to Florida statutes a helipad is an airport and would come under every airport regulation," Toto said.

Neighbors don't want the noise, and they're concerned about the wetlands and wildlife.

"This is old Homosassa. We want to keep it old. We want to keep the nature in our coast. Not a helicopter," Wright said.

A planning and development commission meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss Sierra's helipad request.

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