There are more than two sides to this issue. For four years now, the conflict of interests has been smoldering over a roughly 2000-square-meter plot of land between zeublitz (altenkunstadt municipality) and wolfsloch (hochstadt municipality). On the one hand there is the club, whose members want to practice their hobby there. They let model airplanes take to the skies and have a permit (currently limited until summer) from the northern bavaria aviation office. Its members – who are said to include a few people from wolfsloch – come from various places in the district of lichtenfels, where it seems to be becoming increasingly difficult to find a place for just this kind of leisure activity.
The association has leased the land. It is located on the territory of the municipality of altenkunstadt, but the access road is on hochstadt land. Even before the flight operations began in 2009, there were critical voices from both communities because of feared larvae contamination and disturbance of the wildlife. Both municipalities formulated negative opinions, but they were and are not responsible for the approval.
How the legal dispute came about
The legal dispute arose when the hochstadt municipality denied the model airplane group the requested special use permit for the access road. The 90 or so signatures submitted by wolfsloch may have played a more important role than the expected impact on public field and forest paths cited as a reason for the decision.
The association sued against the decision of the municipality of hochstadt. The administrative court in bayreuth was asked to determine whether the lessee had a natural right of way and did not need permission to use the land. The judges in bayreuth were of the opinion that this would only be the case for agricultural or forestry use. A special use permit is required for model airplane operations after all. In september 2011, the action was dismissed.
The hobby pilots were not satisfied with this and immediately announced that they would have the ruling reviewed by a high court. After all, this is not just about phoenix from the district of lichtenfels, but about the clarification of a question that could be relevant for several other model airplane enthusiasts in similar cases. Therefore, a lawyer of the german model airplane association took care of the matter.
In october of last year, the appeal was allowed at the bavarian administrative court in munich. Three judges there reported "serious doubts about the correctness" the members of the club were more inclined to consider the use of the public field and forest paths as public use – and not as special use. The expected traffic to the model airplane site appears to be "of little relevance".
The mayor of hochstadt, thomas kneipp (CSU), informed the municipal council of this in november. Contrary to the expectations of the phoenix lawyer, however, this did not lead to the municipality recognizing the right of access. In december, the town council decided in a closed session to commission a lawyer from wurzburg to submit a statement for the appeal proceedings, kneipp announced in response to a question. This statement is to be submitted this week. The costs for this were borne by the legal expenses insurance of the municipality.
The mayor points out that about a quarter of a year ago, i.E. After several years of on-site flying experience, there was a second collection of signatures in wolfsloch – with more signatories than in the first one. "There are citizens who are immensely disturbed by this", he states. The access permit could ultimately lead to the use of larger model airplanes, according to the mayor, if the land was considered developed and fenced off.
Jurgen christ, chairman of the model airplane group, who was also present at the youngest castle meeting in altenkunstadt, does not hesitate to emphasize that the club is interested in a good relationship with its neighbors, has complied with all the requirements and therefore no violations have been punished. The signature front of over one hundred wolfslochers (with 180 inhabitants) he assesses differentiated.
He does not doubt the signatures, but how they came about. He had been denied access. He knows of "two or three families", those who oppose the flight. However, most of the residents did not even know that flights had already been taking place there since 2009 with the appropriate permission. And also with models with internal combustion engines.
Informed or not informed?
Christ says residents' fears have been played on by telling them "an airport is being built" and then it would be over with the peace. The association is not angry with the people if they believe what they hear from their neighbors or relatives for lack of better knowledge. However, the municipalities are expected to provide objective clarification.
Munich judges to have the final say. Maybe already in the first months of the year. Whether it will be the last in this matter?