By Kathryn G. Menu
While air traffic may have quieted somewhat now that the off season is here, at last Thursday’s East Hampton Town Board meeting, Quiet Skies Coalition chairwoman Kathy Cunningham renewed a call to ensure any study of the effectiveness of a seasonal air traffic control tower at East Hampton Airport also looks at the impact — or lack thereof — the tower has had on noise pollution.
East Hampton Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley agreed, and said she had spent the last week trying to obtain information to ensure that does in fact happen.
On Thursday, November 15, Cunningham raised the issue in front of the East Hampton Town Board, noting the board was considering a resolution asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval to have a seasonal air traffic control tower at the airport for the 2013 season and thereafter.
For the first time, this past summer, the East Hampton Town Airport had a seasonal air traffic control tower in place, but according to airport liaison, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, needed approval to move forward with the tower next season.
The board would approve that resolution.
However, Cunningham implored the board to ensure a noise abatement program would in fact be studied and implemented by the town.
“There is absolutely no reason there cannot be an airport noise component to this tower,” she said.
Stanzione said the firm Harris, Miller, Miller & Hanson (HMMH) was commissioned to give the board a first draft of protocols on how to study noise some time in the next week. If the town does choose to pursue restrictions at the airport, whether it be curfews or limiting aircraft, taking this route through a FAA part-161 study would give the town the best results to wage such a battle.
Quigley said she had thought it was happening earlier and was confused as to why HMMH was not asked to perform this work sooner but was only commissioned in September despite her believing some forward momentum should have begun in early August.
“Something happened between August 2 and the end of September and that something was nothing,” she said. “I don’t know why. But what they are doing is they are waiting from the data from the control tower people who are supposed to give it to DY [Consultants],” said Quigley referring to the town’s engineers.
Cunningham said she was raising the issue because people were wondering what, if anything, was happening in this arena.
Quigley said a meeting was convened at the airport to discuss noise, on October 26 that she was unaware of. Regardless, Quigley said the documentation she has seen showed a number of questions related to Cunningham’s concerns that would be explored in the study.