East Gull council to vote Tuesday on helipad ordinance

The meeting will be at Cragun's Legacy Clubhouse to allow for more attendees than city hall could accommodate.

Residents of East Gull Lake listen to planning commission members discuss a proposed helipad ordinance amendment during a work session Monday, Aug. 24, at Cragun's Legacy Clubhouse. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Disaptch

The East Gull Lake City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, at Cragun’s Legacy Clubhouse to make the final decision on an ordinance amendment regarding private helipads.

The city’s planning and zoning commission voted 3-2 last week to recommend the council deny the amendment, which would allow the construction and use of private helipads in East Gull Lake. For the amendment to take effect, the council must approve it with a fourth-fifths majority.

Helipad proponents, like helicopter pilot Doug Schieffer and Attorney Kyle Hart, believe the planning commission’s decision was unfair, not based on objective evidence and ignored relevant testimony from helicopter experts. They think the city council will give them more of a fair shake.

Opponents, however, believe the planning commission members who voted against the measure did their job, as residential neighborhoods, they say, are not the place for helicopters to be landing and taking off.

Matt Loven, an attorney representing those opposed to the amendment, said there was factual basis, including lack of enforceability, spot zoning, inconsistency with the city’s comprehensive plan and the existence of alternative places to land helicopters nearby. Loven said his clients also believe the community opposition should weigh on the decision, even if it can’t be the sole reason the commission and council reject the proposal.


“The planning commission did their job. They made a decision based on relevant facts, and they reached a rational decision,” Loven said by phone Thursday, Aug. 27.

The issue sprang up last year when Schieffer, who lives and works in the Twin Cities area, bought property in East Gull Lake for a seasonal residence. He wants to commute between the two properties with his helicopter.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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