Public Hearings On Seaplanes Rude And Unfair

Public Hearing On Yellowstone Seaplanes Considered Unfair

Arbitrary and capricious decisions by lawmakers and local zealot governments are a common sight for people involved in any sort of Waterflying activity. While we don’t like to talk about it among our own industry, the bias and constant work against our industry is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf. Seemingly anyone who has spent time on dealing with the countless advocacy issues plaguing our industry has been surprised by the fierce opposition by residents and so-called NIMBY’s.

Unfortunately, the fine people of Yellowstone Seaplanes are no exception to the story.  Residents attending a public hearing on Yellowstone Seaplanes request to operate on a lake near Yellowstone, definitely stooped to a new low by disturbing the hearing in addition to mounting major resistance among residents and flooding the decisionmakers with more than 140 letters opposing the application.

Grace Taylor, a vocal Hebgen Lake area resident, claimed noise, safety and devaluation of property as her main reasons of concern. Mrs. Taylor later went on to claim that her father, supposedly a former accident investigator, had not allowed her to get into a small plane when she was young because “most of the pilots who crashed were cocky and drinking while operating the plane.” Taylor stated she doesn’t know DeWitt, however she asked board members if they had looked into whether he drank. At the end of her comments, and most of the public comment in opposition to the permit, the crowd clapped and cheered.

Brian Gallik, the Bozeman, MT attorney with the firm that represents DeWitt, submitted a letter to members of the commission last week which said that the conduct of the public and the commissioners’ failure to control the hearing denied the applicant his right to a fair hearing. He said DeWitt would not be appealing the decision, but called the hearing a direct assault on the foundation of our system of government.