Chatham Appealing Superior Court Skydiving Decision

KA_Chatham_town offices 2_110615CHATHAM – Following a decision in September allowing a suit regarding skydiving at Chatham Airport to move forward, the Town of Chatham will take its case to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals in an effort to overturn that decision.

The suit was filed by Citizens for a Safe Chatham Airport, who argue that skydiving is a public nuisance activity based on noise and safety risks for surrounding property owners.

Skydiving has not been offered at the airport since 2013, when the town declined to renew the contract for Skydive Cape Cod, citing noise and safety concerns.

However, the Federal Aviation Administration has ordered the town to solicit proposals to bring skydiving back to the airport, citing violations regarding federal funding obligations.

“Skydiving is a lawful activity at Chatham Airport,” said Selectman Seth Taylor. “It can be safely managed at Chatham Airport and safely conducted at Chatham Airport. They, meaning the FAA, have told us it’s an activity we cannot prohibit.”

The town’s appeal will surround the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act.

“We believe that based on the Tort Claims law and the immunity defenses that the town has that the case should’ve been dismissed,” Taylor said. “We’re hopeful that the appeals court will look at this and find as a matter of law that that is the case.”

A date for the appellate proceeding has not been announced.

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