Lincoln residents on Tuesday night got a chance to weigh in on Beta Technologies founder Kyle Clark’s plans to build an airstrip at his home.
Opponents outnumbered supporters twice among a dozen people who spoke at the Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing.
Longtime Lincoln resident Stephanie Atkins, whose property adjoins Clark’s, asked Clark if he would be flying about 500 feet above his property when he arrived for the landings. He confirmed that he would.
“So it affects us directly,” Atkins said. “We have a farm. We have animals.
Atkins asked Clark if he would fly four or five times a week if he could.
“Certainly,” he replied.
“It’s going to be high traffic,” Atkins said. “We had a nice air show last Monday night of Kyle doing loops and flying over our property.”
The city previously granted Clark a permit to build a 60-foot-wide, 1,500-foot-long grass airstrip, but reopened the case after a neighbor appealed.
Atkins and another resident objected to the application on the grounds that the zoning administrator had not conducted a site visit before issuing Clark a permit for the airstrip.C
Marilyn Ganahl, whose property also borders Clark’s, filed the appeal that prompted the board to reconsider the airstrip application. She testified that Clark had stolen near her property “as an act of intimidation”.
“It’s definitely gone below 500 feet,” Ganahl said. “It intimidated me.”
Clark, who was present at the hearing and answered Atkins’ questions, did not respond to Ganahl as she did not ask him any questions.
If Clark gets his airstrip, Ganahl said, “it would be like I wasted 18 years trying to create a sanctuary in the mountains where you think you can have privacy and seclusion and peace. solitude and supporting wildlife. If I wanted to live near a goddamn airport, I’d be in Williston.
At least one family is split on Clark’s proposed airstrip.
Roger Rood testified that Clark once landed a helicopter on his airstrip without Rood’s permission. When Clark’s son came to pick him up, Rood said he told him the helicopter was not welcome. Later, Rood says, a plane landed. Rood said he left a note on the plane saying the plane was not welcome.
“Knowing that I own the land and didn’t want a plane landing there, I don’t think that shows any respect,” Rood said.
But Rood’s niece, Jenn Buker, countered that Clark told her he had tried several times to talk to Rood.
“I just want you to know that Kyle tried to contact you and talk to you,” Buker told Rood.
Another Clark supporter, Erin Malone, a part-time Lincoln resident, said she has known Clark’s wife, Katie, for 35 years and Clark for 28 years.
“The Clarks’ project will allow them to use their property in Lincoln as they wish,” Malone said.
Council members spent the first hour of Clark’s nearly three-hour airstrip on Tuesday night trying to decide whether to allow Clark’s former Underhill neighbor, Sandy Murphy, to testify. At a previous meeting on June 15, Claudia Safra, an attorney representing Ganahl, said she wanted Murphy to testify about Clark’s alleged harassment after Murphy complained he was flying over her property.
In the end, the board decided not to let Murphy testify, arguing that only parties interested in Lincoln should have a say. Murphy posted in the Zoom meeting’s chat feature that Clark was flying so low over her property that she could read the tail numbers on her plane.
The Commission will resume hearing on August 8 to allow Clark’s attorneys to ask Clark additional questions.