OUR VIEW: Give the OK for seaplanes to land on Lake Mitchell
Airplanes fitted with pontoons can't legally land on Lake Mitchell, but it's possible the City Council will soon make changes to allow this unique practice on our local reservoir.
Here's the proposal: Make it legal to allow airplanes fitted with pontoon-like gear to land on the lake. Planes would need to weigh less than 10,000 pounds and they would be required to stay at least 500 feet above ground level when passing over populated areas. The proposal could get final approval at Monday's City Council meeting.
Behind the proposal is local resident Jeff Krall, who owns and operates a seaplane. He says that statistically, seaplanes are safe and do not interfere with other activities on the water, such as boating and fishing. He also says the wake from a seaplane is minimal.
When we first heard of the idea, those were two of our top concerns. Too, we wonder about potential noise from seaplanes. Is an airplane louder than some of the high-end boats that zoom on Lake Mitchell's waters? We really don't know, but it's something to consider.
Krall says collisions are rare, and noted seaplane operators are required to take additional training.
If the council gives the OK to the proposal, it likely will be to the benefit of very few.
On one hand, maybe that's reason enough not to approve it. On the other, since so few are involved, is approving the idea such a big deal?
We say give it the OK, but be sure that noise won't be an issue for current lake residents. We know floatplanes are used elsewhere in the country, including Minnesota, and apparently are just a way of life.
Lake Mitchell is bigger than it seems, and we feel there's enough room for this unique practice to be made legal.