Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission approves helipad at Mar-a-Lago

Construction will take about a month to complete
Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 04:25:17-05

The Town of Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved a landing pad on Mar-a-Lago for Marine One, the president’s helicopter.

Approval for a 50-foot concrete helipad on Mar-a-Lago's property by the commission was under the condition it be will be as simple as possible.

For visual reasons, the pad will have no fuel tank or lights and will be located near a service road.

The goal is to make sure the location will not impact historic structures on the property, according to the commission.

"I've worked on that property for 22 years. When I saw the drawings from the Marines, I saw it's the most logical and it's the perfect location,” said architect Rick Gonzalez.

An attorney for a Mar-a-Lago neighbor voiced opposition to the plan, saying it would be disruptive.

"She (the neighbor) already deals with the fact that she looks out her window when the president is here and people with guns on boats have those guns trained on her house. So we urge you to please consider this," said Jesse Diner, the neighbor's attorney.

"I think that to deny the helipad makes no sense, and if the decibels levels worry people and all these different helicopters, what area isn't going to be impacted?" said commission member Jacqueline Weld Drake.

The pad is to be removed at the end of President Trump’s term, in either four or eight years.

One of the commission members questioned why the helipad couldn’t be grass like at the White House.

The reason given by White House representatives is that Marine One pilots are not as familiar with the area, according to the commission.

Another plan of putting the helipad in the ocean instead came up as well. Gonzalez, Mar-a-Lago's current architect, said the lawn plan is the only plan that works.

“It's the safest spot. It's away from the historic easement which is an important element of the town and the national trust," said Gonzalez.

He said the next step is to apply for building permits. Once Gonzalez has them, the pad will take about a month to complete from the time construction is started.