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Important News on the Nowthen Launch Site

As we were gathering at the August launch at the Nowthen sod field to start range setup, the landowner walked over to talk to us.

He said that the 3DRC flying club was having problems with the city of Nowthen and with Anoka County. As the landowner, he was getting pulled into it. Worst case - everyone loses access to the field.  [3DRC leases the land at the south end of the sod fields.  They fly radio control airplanes and helicopters.]

It sounded like it started with a noise complaint from a neighbor against the R/C club. The city and county became involved. He said that part of the bureaucratic issues stemmed from using land zoned for agriculture for other purposes. The R/C club has evidently gone before the city already to plead their case. It sounds like they had to get a special permit for an event they recently held at their field.

The landowner said that he had received a 6 page document, but refused to sign it as it essentially required him to assume all liabilities and responsibilities for these activities on his lands. It sounded like the city knew of MASA's use of the field also. He thought that they would have contacted us already.

Obviously, the landowner doesn't want all this legal hassle. He stated (and only half jokingly) that he might end up kicking everyone off the property, plowing it up, and planting corn.

The R/C flying club's web site has the following 2 statements on their forum page.

"3DRC Members - The field is temporarily closed until further notice. The board is working to get this matter resolved ASAP. We will try to post updates as we have them. The property owner has been letting members that show up at the field that flying is not allowed- please don't "shoot the messenger". Thanks for understanding and respecting the land owner."

"The 3DRC board would like let 3DRC club members know that we are working on a solution to our recent issues with the city of Nowthen. We have several challenges ahead of us but we believe we can reach an understanding with the city that will be equitable for all parties. I would like for any club members that want to be updated on what is happening with the city to e-mail me a preferred e-mail address that I can send updates to. Everyone will be blind copied so we will hopefully not have a spam issue. We feel it is best to keep this information among the club members in the event that we must move forward with litigation. We also need to keep this issue off of the forum simply because it is a club matter and not open for public debate.

I have been in touch with the land owner and have been informed that we also should not fly at the fields. As said earlier, don't shoot the messenger and let's be respectful of the landowner.  [Please do NOT attempt to contact the landowner or anyone with the city of Nowthen or Anoka County about this!!!  If you have suggestions, ideas, or wish to help, please contact the MASA officers.]

The MASA officers along with NAR President Ted Cochran are discussing our options and will be looking into what we can do to help the fight and get the field use back.

In the meantime, we are looking at a couple of options to finish out the flying season.

  • Move the remaining 2013 launches to the Otsego VFW fields and only fly model rockets and some mid power. All HPR would have to be done with Tripoli North Branch like some of you already do.
  • Move the remaining 2013 launches to the Tripoli North Branch field and have launches combined with them or on our usual weekend on our own.

I have sent an email to Steve Anderson of Tripoli Minnesota explaining the situation and to see what we can work out.

Sorry for the bad news,

Neal Higgins
MASA President

September 24, 2013

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