The Seven Lakes Aeromodelers Club can breathe a sigh of relief, after a decision by Moore County’s Board of Adjustment that allows them to continue flying their radio-controlled model airplanes over a 60-acre pasture near the intersection of NC Highway 73 and Beulah Hill Church Road.
Still, though that battle is won, the war may not be over.
The next engagement is likely to be in Moore County Superior Court. And it may all come down to the meaning of the word “club.”
The Board of Adjustment met on Wednesday, July 27 to consider a request by Samuel A. Blackwell, III, and Elizabeth Blackwell of Raleigh, who own an adjacent ten acre property, to overturn a zoning permit, authorized by Planning Director Joey Raczkowski, that allows the Aeromodelers to fly their planes from a parcel leased from T. Clyde Auman Farms.
The Club leases property just to the west of the Blackwell’s tract, as well as rights to fly over a larger pasture.
The Blackwells acquired their adjacent tract in January 2010, and filed a complaint concerning the Aeromodelers with the Moore County Planning Department in November of last year.
Planners determined that the Aeromodelers needed a zoning permit to fly their planes from the Auman property, but also initially used the complaint as an opportunity to add a new land use — “outdoor recreation” — to the Zoning Ordinance. When that ran into complications at the Planning Board level, Planning staff asked the Aeromodelers to submit an application for a Zoning Permit and a commercial site plan, which Planning Director Joey Raczkowski, ultimately approved.
The Blackwells appealed that approval, arguing that Raczkowksi had wrongly interpreted the zoning ordinance and had failed to stop the Aeromodelers from flying, once it was clear they needed a zoning permit to do so.