Silver Lakes Helicopter Tour Permit Denied

GOLDEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A permit for helicopter tours in Silver Lake was denied by a planning commission on Tuesday.

Intrepid Helicopters was denied a special use permit by the Golden Township Planning Commission.

The move came after a group of residents began trying to stop helicopter tours from taking off in Silver Lake.

“The noise is crazy,” said David Dickman.

Complaints started swirling around last summer when Intrepid Helicopters began offering sightseeing tours over the Silver Lake sand dunes.

Editor’s Note: The footage of the helicopter rides shown in the video below was not taken over Silver Lake, but was shot at a different location.

“It was disruptive to the point that you couldn’t even have a conversation while sitting on your porch and it was about every 15 minutes,” seasonal resident Beth Legate said.

The Ohio-based helicopter company received temporary clearance from Golden Township to operate for two weekends last summer, taking off and landing in town.

Dickman, who lives next to the take-off and landing area, said it quickly became a nuisance.

“They take off from there and come back from there, so it’s twice every 15 minutes. It’s crazy,” he said.

The company had flights offered for 17 days five of the busiest weekends this summer, including July 4th and AppleFest.

Some residents responded with a bang, calling on the township’s planning commission to reject the proposal.

“Our family has owned property here for just over 100 years and we have never stood in the way of any progress or development around the lake,” Legate said. “We know it supports the local economy, but at this point the helicopters aren’t really helping us here at all.”

Business owner Spencer Norris told News 8 by telephone that he was surprised by the pushback.

“We’ve been in business for 16 years and we’ve never experienced this before,” Norris said. “I understand the concern about noise, but it’s still a widely accepted tourist activity.”

Norris said they would find an alternate landing zone outside the township and tours would continue as planned.

Even so, Legate said it was important for the township to take a stand.

“That means they’ll have to go to a more distant airport and maybe have less stuff and maybe it won’t be worth it,” she said. “But we are doing our best to make sure that (takeoff and landing) stop here locally.”

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