Helicopter pilot who fights fires told he has to land his aircraft elsewhere

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DOUGLAS CONTY, Colo. -- A Douglas County helicopter pilot well known for fighting fires will have to give up his old landing spot for his aircraft.

The forced move comes after a neighbor complained about safety concerns.

Jeff Armstrong has run his helicopter company, Rampart Helicopter Services,  for 11 years outside Castle Rock.

But now, the commercial fire fighting helicopter -  will have to move.

Armstrong said, “My initial reaction was pure astonishment that somebody actually complained knowing what we do. My next reaction was pure anger.”

Armstrong says he was told the land was not zoned for a heliport.

For four months commissioners debated whether to rezone his land for commercial use.

In the end, they said his property did not meet the criteria.

Armstrong’s property, was at one time in a relatively isolated area.

Now, there are hundreds of homes across acres of land from his landing zone and more are being built.

Neighbor Chris Vanoni, who complained to commissioners, told FOX31 Problem Solvers, “It is a big safety concern because of the hundreds of homes here … and nearby soccer fields filled with kids. It’s time move it somewhere else.”

Not everyone agrees.

Neighbor Lisa Hanson said, “I want him to stay. I think it’s a wonderful thing for our community, I mean he does good. He drops water on all these fires. I don’t want my house to burn down.”

Armstrong told the Problem Solvers tests show his chopper did not violate noise standards.

Armstrong also changed his flight paths to avoid flying over homes.

Still that was not enough.

Armstrong tells us he has 90 days to move his helicopter.

He’s looking at a possible location in Franktown, not far from Castle Rock.

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