Gilbert man’s home helipad plan doesn’t fly with neighbors

By Cecilia Chan | Gilbert Sun News

Robert Horne wants to build a helipad in his backyard so he can take off to reach two parcels he owns deep in a national forest to check on his cows.

Horne’s proposal to seek a conditional use permit for a 40’x40’ landing pad from the Town, however, isn’t flying with some of his neighbors in the Gilbert neighborhood of Sawyer Estates – horse properties with a minimum 2 acres of land.

“When I bought 21 years ago it was for the peace and quiet,” said Margie English, who lives five houses from Horne. “There are no street lights. I want to keep it rural.”

English and a dozen other nearby residents voiced concerns about noise, impact to property values and safety during a neighborhood hosted by Horne last Wednesday on his front lawn. He also streamed the meeting live on Zoom, which at one point showed 79 participants.

Horne moved the meeting outdoors in anticipation of a crowd after a growing number of people voiced opposition to the helipad on social media.

“I care about my neighbors,” Horne said. “Before submitting anything I want to make an educated decision whether to pursue a permit or not.”

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