Paragliders pass muster in Kyle

Noise complaints levied against Paramotored Paragliders near Lake Kyle Park led Kyle city leaders to contemplate possible restrictions.

Worries on overregulation of recreational activities, however, pushed officials to avoid preventing the gliders, or any other aerial device, from flying the friendly Kyle skies. 

Kerry Urbanowicz, Kyle Parks and Recreations director, said the issue was first brought up in January by Kyle’s Parks Board, which tackled prohibiting take-offs and landings of Paramotor Paragliders in city parks. There is no language in Kyle’s code of ordinances or parks rules that cover vehicle take off and landings.

Those rule changes came up after neighbors in the Four-Season Farms subdivision complained about noise from the paragliders, said Kyle City Council member Tracy Scheel.

Two commercial groups use Lake Kyle Park up to three times per month for training purposes, Urbanowicz said. Kyle is also a hot-spot for recreational paragliders who might not have taken off in the city, but often land near Lake Kyle.

Proposed restrictions from the Parks Board involved prohibiting paramotors and paragliders from taking off from the park on Sundays. Urbanowicz said the majority of the noise generated by the vehciles is during takeoff. But a failure to get a majority vote to enact restrictions led Urbanowicz to seek council feedback. City leaders ultimately opted to do nothing and not enact any type of restrictions.

However, Urbanowicz said once something is launched, oversight then falls under the Federal Aviation Administration’s purview.

Additionally, Urbanowicz said paramotors do not break the 85-decibel noise ordinance limit when measured from property lines. 

Standing next to the paramotors drew a 95-decibel reading, Urbanowicz said. Most of the paragliders train and perform runs during the early morning hours on weekdays and Saturdays, Urbanowicz said.

Placing restrictions could also hinder possible economic benefit of Paramotor Paragliders visiting the city and spending their dollars in Kyle. Urbanowicz said Kyle’s Parks Department plans to manage the training program, but there’s no way to enforce any rules against them.

“They (paragliders) come from all over the U.S. and they bring their families,” Urbanowicz said. “They have a following out there. You’ll see people with bags of popcorn enjoy watching them.”

While there are some complaints, Scheel said most Four Seasons Farm homeowners welcomed the paragliders in the area.

“I came up to a few homeowners and they said they loved them and love watching them,” Scheel said. “It’s entertaining for them, just like Pie in the Sky.”

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