If We are Going to File a Restraining Order Against Uber for Helicopter Flights, Let’s Start Enforcing Everything On the Books
If you’ve hiked Round Valley on a Saturday morning, it’s likely you’ve seen a white helicopter fly into town and set down in one of the housing areas to the northwest of Round Valley. In the last 3 years, I’ve seen the private helicopter (not to be confused with the medical choppers that land at the hospital) descend behind the mountains between Round Valley and Old Ranch Road 20 times. Yet, now Uber publicizes that they will make $200 per person flights from Salt Lake to Park City and the topic of restraining orders gets brought up. The Park Record has told us that Summit County is considering issuing a restraining order against anyone landing helicopters without a permit.
So, why now? Why this?
Don’t get me wrong, when I first heard of Uber helicopter flights for Sundance, I thought about safety. I’ve heard how hard it can be to fly around here, especially at night. However, that’s really an FAA issue. They control everything above 400 feet in our skies.
Yet, our government wants a permit for landing a few helicopters in what is likely a person’s permanent landing pad (that has existed for years) or is maybe even just a field. I also assume that all balloon companies (that we see flying every weekend in Summit County) also require a permit for each landing. Hopefully they all have whatever permit is required for landing in Summit County every weekend. If not, I would expect that to be enforced. Over the course of the year, I would expect balloon revenue to exceed Uber’s Helicopter-related revenue for this one weekend.
I understand residents’ concern over noise. It could be a nuisance, especially if you lived on the flight path. However, if this law is enforced, I would expect it to be enforced universally and all the time. If not, an action like a restraining order could be viewed as arbitrary and capricious just because Uber may interfere with local taxi cab business.
Overall, it highlights one of the problems with Summit County. We have lots of laws on our books that never are enforced (the best example is our sign ordinances). A law without universal enforcement at best goes unnoticed and perhaps confuses the populace. At worst, it can be used to stymie specific business interests.