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Published: Wednesday, 10/16/2002

Heliport in Bedford spurs new zoning law

TEMPERANCE - The Bedford Township Board last night closed an apparent loophole in its zoning ordinances that allowed a Temperance doctor to build and operate a private heliport near his home in a residential neighborhood.

The board voted unanimously to clarify its zoning regulations to make any references to “airports” or “aircraft” in its existing rules to govern virtually any form of flying device, including helicopters.

Neighbors of Dr. Paul Neumann, a chiropractor and owner of the former Affordable Chiropractic, were infuriated earlier this summer when Dr. Neumann began flying his private helicopter from a heliport he constructed behind his home off West Sterns Road. Dr. Neumann had received FAA approval for the heliport.

Township Clerk Bob Schockman said last night that Dr. Neumann had spoken with township Supervisor LaMar Frederick and said he intended to stop all flying from that residential area.

Dr. Neumann and Mr. Frederick could not be reached for comment.

Township legal counsel Tom Graham, who drafted the amendment, said it would not specifically prohibit airports in certain “restrictive” areas of the township but would put the township on better legal footing with the state and federal aviation authorities to block unwanted facilities.

“There may be situations when the [FAA] may approve something that our zoning will not allow,” Mr. Graham said. He said the amendment simply clarifies what he feels was the township's original intention: to include heliports and other forms of aircraft servicing facilities in its zoning regulations.

Board members said they are glad the situation is rectified.

“It's dangerous and it's ridiculous that [a heliport] would be in a residential area,” township Trustee Arnold Jennings said.

“If we don't have something in place, we could run into this situation again,” Mr. Schockman said.

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