By Paul Gable
An ordinance amending minimum standards at Horry County’s general aviation airports has been flying below the radar.
The ordinance is scheduled for second reading and public review at the January 6, 2015 regular meeting of Horry County Council.
It is interesting that this amended version to the county’s minimum standards for general aviation airports comes just six months after any type of standards were first approved by council.
During the April 4, 2014 meeting of the Horry County Administration Committee, when the minimum standards were first discussed, Horry County attorney Arrigo Carotti told the committee, ”There were some recent issues which have already occurred at Grand Strand Airport, which have now involved them in litigation. They needed some basis or standards set in place as quickly as possible at those GA airports, especially at Grand Strand Airport.”
Carotti’s statement makes it clear that minimum standards for general aviation airports in Horry County were established in response to litigation.
According to information received by GSD, Skydive Myrtle Beach filed an FAA Part 16 complaint against Horry County Department of Airports with the Federal Aviation Administration on February 24, 2014 based on a February 19, 2014 letter to Skydive Myrtle Beach from Horry County Deputy Attorney H. Randolph Haldi.
Part of the letter refers to 15 alleged rule violations by Skydive Myrtle Beach to rules that were only first discussed at the Horry County Administration Committee on April 4, 2014.
According to county records, an ordinance establishing the minimum standard rules passed third reading of council at its May 20, 2014 regular meeting.
Even applying a pending ordinance doctrine, it is impossible for Skydive Myrtle Beach to have violated these minimum standard rules prior to April 2014.
Ordinance 36-14, which established the minimum standards at Horry County general aviation airports and is now being amended, was rushed through according to Carotti’s own words.
Before this amendment is also rushed through three readings of council, it would seem prudent for council to take a step back, study the potential liability of the county to litigation now in process with relation to these minimum standards and determine if these minimum standards apply equally to all general aviation businesses with leases at Horry County general aviation airports.