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Group addresses parks board about flying field
model aviators

A group of local radio modelers is hoping to once again use a park in northeast Forsyth for flying radio-controlled planes.

The Forsyth County Radio Control Modelers recently spoke at a meeting of the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Board asking for consideration to use a flying field at Eagle’s Beak Park. The facility was previously used by the now-defunct Georgia Model Aviators. 

“We went before parks and recreation … to explain what we would like to do, which is fly model airplanes at Eagle’s Beak, prove that there is demand in Forsyth County for this activity, to show that we would respect the boundaries of the park,” said Lou Melancon, the group’s president, on Monday.

Melancon said several spoke in favor of the proposal, and there were also some opposed to it at the meeting.

According to county records, board members voted 4-1 with District 5 member Bibiano Lopez opposed, to defer the request to Forsyth County Commissioners. 

Board chairman Gary Cooper made a motion saying that, “because this item is a legal issue bound to a pre-existing legal agreement by the county, the parks and recreation board would like to defer this request to be heard by the county commissioners with the county attorney present.”

Formerly, Georgia Model Aviators operated at the site.

The group had a lease with the previous owner that carried over when Forsyth County purchased the land. The lease expired at the end of 2017.

The county purchased the 225-acre property in 2009 with funding from the $100 million bond referendum for parks, green space and recreation that voters approved in 2008.

Previously, one reason given for not continuing: the lease bonds used to purchase the land have a passive use — meaning amenities like nature trails and a river rather than active uses like gyms and ballfields — and the airfield would have been considered active use.

Melancon said he believes it is only an active use if groups made a lot of noise, about which he said the group would be more careful about than previous users.

“It is our contention that if airplanes are noisy, they’re an active activity. If they’re quiet, they’re a passive activity,” he said.

He said he would like to see commissioners give the parks board another chance to look at the proposal.

“It is our hope that the county commissioners will give the project back to them to be investigated more thoroughly as to its feasibility and acceptability at the park,” Melancon said.