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No helicopter rides in North Myrtle Beach, for now

Myrtle Beach helicopter tour

MyrtleBeachOnline.com staff takes a helicopter tour of downtown Myrtle Beach, SC. Fly over the Springmaid Pier, see Family Kingdom from the air. The tour is out of the south end of the Strand from Myrtle Beach International Airport.
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MyrtleBeachOnline.com staff takes a helicopter tour of downtown Myrtle Beach, SC. Fly over the Springmaid Pier, see Family Kingdom from the air. The tour is out of the south end of the Strand from Myrtle Beach International Airport.

A helicopter company withdrew plans to offer tourist rides in North Myrtle Beach and is not pursuing court mediation to overturn two rejections by the city’s board of zoning appeals, but that doesn’t mean it’s a dead deal.

Windy Hill Water Park told the Court of Common Pleas in February they wished to contest the zoning board rejection and begin mediation with North Myrtle Beach officials.

It was during that mediation that the company informed the city they planned to go back to the zoning board and reapply for an exemption to operate at 4300 U.S. 17 South, but the company did not do so, and instead dropped the appeal on Friday.

“Whatever their next move is, I guess it’s up to them,” Dowling said. “They said they were going to reapply, but nobody has.”

By dropping the court appeal, the company can apply all over again instead of appealing their request to have the property rezoned for helicopter flights.

The company’s lawyer, Mark McNeill, could not be reached for comment.

Whatever their next move is, I guess it’s up to them.

Pat Dowling, North Myrtle Beach spokesman

The company’s decision to drop the appeal comes on the heels of a new ordinance passed by the Horry County Council to restrict future helicopter touring companies to public airports, which includes the Myrtle Beach International Airport and the Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach.

The decision only affects the unincorporated areas of the county, and not helicopter companies seeking to operate in North Myrtle Beach. A helicopter touring company could operate from the Grand Strand Airport but would still require a business license from the North Myrtle Beach.

Under the county’s ordinance, Helicopter Adventures near Broadway at the Beach has until 2023 to move their operations so that company can fulfill its lease obligation with Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. Any new helicopter touring company that wishes to operate in the county must do so from an airport.

Horry County requires all new tour companies to operate at public airports.

Audrey Hudson: 843-444-1765, @AudreyHudson

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