The City Council this week directed City Atty. Richard Terzian to draft an ordinance banning the use of all motorized model aircraft in the city. The ordinance will be introduced at the council meeting on April 22.
While expressing some sympathy to members of a local model helicopter flying club who had sought to use Highridge Park for flying meets, the council said it could not ignore a petition opposing motorized aircraft use that was signed by 39 residents whose properties abut the park.
A resident who had circulated the petition addressed the council and charged that the model aircraft are noisy, dangerous and not in keeping with Rolling Hills Estates’ rural, residential atmosphere. Refering to a club membership roster, she said most of the club members live outside the city.
Highridge Park, at the corner of Whitley Collins Drive and Highridge Road, is adjacent to homes in Rolling Hills Park Estates, where most of the petitioners live.
Richard Elliott, a Rolling Hills Estates resident and model helicopter enthusiast, said a recent decibel reading of the model aircraft at the park showed they were less noisy than lawn mowers, weed blowers or children playing at a playground.
“It’s not going to wake anyone up,” he said.
Elliot asked that hobbyists be allowed to use the park on a 90-day permit basis, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to dusk.
Councilman Jerome Belsky opposed the idea. “I don’t think we should sit here and allow more noise to annoy people,” he said.
The neighboring city of Rancho Palos Verdes has indicated willingness to explore allowing the club to use undeveloped land near its city hall on Hawthorne Boulevard, said Sam Wise, Rolling Hills Estates community services director.
The club is seeking to arrange flight demonstrations for Rancho Palos Verdes city officials, said Dave Weldon, president of the helicopter hobbyists.