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Wilson Town Board puts Frontier Skydivers’ permit renewal on hold

WILSON – After several residents spoke about the problems of having a skydiving club using an airport near their homes on Beebe Road, the Town Board tabled a request to renew a special permit for the Frontier Skydivers on Wednesday.

Wilson Supervisor Joseph Jastrzemski said he was not prepared to vote. “I would like to put this on hold to have an opportunity to talk to the Town Board about the concerns of some of the residents and also I would like to have an opportunity to speak with the leadership from Frontier Skydivers and allay some of the concerns brought forward,” he said.

Frontier Skydivers had asked for a five-year renewal of a special permit to operate an overnight camp and private club at the airport at 3316 Beebe Road. The permit addresses campsites and noise levels and activities on the property, not the skydiving activities of the club.

Several residents who live near the airport called the sounds of the air traffic loud and unnerving and said it ruined the peace and quiet of living in the country.

Jastrzemski said the town has tried to address every concern of the neighbors.

Patricia Mitalski of 3283 Beebe Road said the club is, as a group, much more respectful of the neighbors than they were in the 1990s.

“I don’t know if there’s anything we can do about it because this is a permit for the campground, but I would prefer they not be there,” said Mitalski. “What about us? We are taxpayers. We should be able to enjoy our property.”

She said there is nothing the residents can do to remove an airport that has been there since 1968, but said it is not like a standard airport.

“In a standard airport, they take off and land, but they go away. They don’t take off, circle around, drop off parachuters and come back. There isn’t the constant up and down all day,” said Mitalski. “I cannot go outside on weekends. There is always someone overhead.”

Jeff Antonich, president of the Frontier Skydivers and a Wilson resident, told the board:

“We are just trying to renew the camping permit so the instructors can come in from out of town. All we want is a place for our instructors to stay so they won’t have to get up early for class instruction. We try not to fly before 9 a.m. We are just trying to keep the place up. Keep it mowed and be respectful so it is nice and clean there.”

He said after the meeting, “Most of the complaints are about the noise of the airplanes – but it’s an airport. We’ve put trees up. We’ve put up berms. We’ve done everything we can to keep the noise down from the airplanes.”

But he said there will always be airplanes there.

“It’s more than just our skydiving planes,” said Antonich.

Jastrzemski said that because of a conflict, the next board work session will be at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 6 and the regular meeting will be moved up a week to 7 p.m. Aug. 12.