Helicopter Pilot Files Suit For Backyard Heliport

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John Casciani is fighting Webster, N.Y., for the right to use his own land as a helipad, claiming his rights are protected under the First and 14th Amendments of both the U.S. and New York Constitutions. Casciani had done as much, on occasion landing his 2004 Enstrom 480B on his 1.5-acre property without concern from 2003 through 2006. That lasted right up until the Town Board passed a law prohibiting private aircraft from landing in the town, but beyond 2005 when Casciani drafted for the Town Board a proposal that would allow him to keep his private heliports. Casciani's lawsuit, filed against the town and Supervisor Ronald Nesbitt, includes the claim that he was told by the Town Attorney he would be exempt from any future laws that might ban his backyard landings and takeoffs. Regardless, Casciani's hopes are now balanced by a group of about 50 private citizens who have organized in opposition to his aerial interests.