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Panel Revokes Aviation Exemption for Santa?


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Panel Revokes Aviation Exemption for Santa?

Sep 13, 8:25 AM (ET)

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - Has Ebenezer Scrooge moved to Utah?

In the minds of some Salt Lake City residents, a proposed change to the city's aviation code conjures up images of the famous curmudgeon from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

The city's airport board recently proposed a change in the part of the aviation code that said small aircraft must maintain an altitude of more than 2,000 feet while flying over Salt Lake City. For years, Santa Claus and his reindeer were granted an exception -- but no more.

Tim Campbell, executive director of the department of airports, said the panel isn't staffed by a bunch of Scrooges, it was just trying to be modern and professional.

"We were updating the ordinance and this provision had not been looked at for a number of years," Campbell said on Friday. "Members of the panel felt it was just not appropriate," said Campbell, who voted to retain the Santa exemption.

The Salt Lake City Council, which must approve the change, was not amused.

"I have a 4-year-old who still believes in Santa Claus," disappointed Councilman Carlton Christensen said.

The council is expected to vote on the proposed general aviation code changes next month.

Santa Claus could not be reached for comment, but a number of concerned citizens have vowed to attend the council meeting to voice their concern.

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