On Monday, a group of East End government leaders announced they have renewed a petition to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a mandatory Atlantic helicopter route to bring flights into the East Hampton Airport.
The group of 19 East End public officials was led by Congressman Tim Bishop, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., New York State Senator Ken LaValle and New York State Assemblyman Dan Losquadro in this effort, and represent every level of government.
East End officials, in an effort to reduce helicopter noise, first supported the mandatory Northern and Atlantic routes in a June 24, 2010 letter to the FAA, according to a press release issued on Monday. However, to date, the FAA has only approved a northern helicopter route, which became effective in August of this year.
“We are united in our position that, despite significant efforts to mitigate helicopter noise, helicopter noise on the East End remains a major, unresolved “quality of life” issue for our region, which also adversely impacts a regional economy dependent on tourism and the second-home industry,” wrote the officials in a joint letter to the FAA on October 12. “The current situation remains unsatisfactory. For some local communities, the situation has actually gotten worse during the summer of 2012. The focus of community complaints has centered on helicopter traffic utilizing the East Hampton Town Airport. Federal intervention must be a part of the solution.”
The letter was signed by Bishop, LaValle, Thiele, Losquadro, Suffolk County Legislators Jay Schneiderman and Edward Romaine, Shelter Island Supervisor James Dougherty, Southold Supervisor Scott Russell, East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione, Riverhead Supervisor Sean M. Walter, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holset, Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine P. Scalera, North Haven Village Mayor Laura Nolan, Dering Harbor Mayor Timothy Hogue, East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach, Jr. Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, Sagaponack Mayor Don Lochheim, Southampton Mayor Mark Epley and Greenport Mayor David Nyce.
“The establishment of the mandatory North Shore Route mitigated the impacts of helicopter noise in Nassau County and Western Suffolk by keeping helicopters one mile offshore in the Long Island Sound, but did nothing to alleviate the problem on the East End,” they continue. “This goal can only be accomplished by the establishment of an Atlantic Route and a North Shore Route.”