– How Seattle regulates their use
At 7:51 a.m. this morning, Seattle Firefighters responded to a helicopter crash near the Space Needle. When firefighters arrived at Broad Street and 4th Avenue they found a helicopter that had crashed into the ground causing three car fires. Medics transported a male driver to Harborview Medical Center with severe burns and discovered two deceased patients inside the helicopter cockpit. Police officers made contact with the drivers of the other two vehicles and they were uninjured.
Helipads are regulated by Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Current rules in the Seattle Land Use Code allow helipads in some commercial, downtown and industrial zones, subject to certain limitations. A helipad can only be approved for uses related to public service, emergency medical care and news agencies. They require review by DPD and approval from City Council to demonstrate the new location minimizes impacts on surrounding areas and meets all federal regulations.
Prior to 1993, helipads were also allowed for private use. Due to concerns of proliferation and potential for increased noise impacts, the City limited the approval to those specific uses listed above. Any private helipads already permitted at the time of the code amendment were grandfathered under previous regulations. Currently, there are 12 helipads located within the city of Seattle, with the most recent being granted in 2007 for Seattle Children’s Hospital.
For more information about FAA licensed helipads, please refer to the following link: