Tag Archive | "east hampton airport"

East Hampton Town Board Considers Curfews, Limits, Bans to Control Airport Noise

Tags: , , , ,


Heller_EH Town Board Airport Work Session 2-4-15_1603_LR

Frank Dalene, co-founder of the Quiet Skies Coalition, thanked the town board for their openness and transparency during the process of adopting airport regulations. Photo by Michael Heller. 

By Mara Certic

People who have been complaining about noise from East Hampton Airport seemed elated on Wednesday morning when the East Hampton Town Board suggested a year-round curfew for the airport as well as other steps to limit noisy operations, including banning all helicopters on weekends during the summer season.

The steps, which would address 74 percent of all complaints while only affecting 31 percent of all flights, were outlined as the board heard the third and final phase of the independent noise analysis performed by Harrison Miller Miller & Hanson Inc., which was contracted to do the study by the town.

The first two phases of the noise study looked into the number of flights into and out of the airport and the complaints associated with them.

The third part of the noise analysis looked into different ways the town could solve the problem in a “reasonable, non-arbitrary and non-discriminatory” way.

“The town board recognizes the value of the East Hampton Airport to the community and does not want to impose any greater restriction than is necessary to achieve the town’s objectives,” Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said in a press release issued on Wednesday afternoon.

Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez has acted as airport liaison since she took office in January 2014 and sponsored the draft legislation for the four specific regulations presented by HMMH Senior Vice President Ted Baldwin.

What the third phase of the study really did, according to Mr. Baldwin, was to predict the result of each possible restriction by using flight and complaint data from October 2013 through October 2014 so that the town would be able to gain a handle on how many flights and how many complaints would be affected by any rule change.

“We based it on 12 months of operations and complaints,” Mr. Baldwin explained,” the most recent 12 months of information we have.”

The four recommendations, all of which the town is considering adopting as local laws, collectively could address 74 percent of all aircraft complaints and would only affect 31 percent of the airport’s annual operations, restricting only the types of aircraft at the times of day, week and year that are associated with the greatest number of complaints.

The first restriction would be to make the airport’s year-round voluntary curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. mandatory. According to the work done by HMMH, 4.9 percent of all complaints last year were associated with operations that would be forbidden if the curfew were enforced.

The second restriction would extend the curfew from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. for noisy aircraft. Noisy aircraft are those with approach levels at 91 decibels or higher. The town will soon be publishing a list of all aircraft that meet that definition, Mr. Baldwin said.

The third proposed regulation would ban all helicopter flights on weekends and holidays during the summer season. The summer season has been defined as lasting from May 1 through September 30 and the weekend, for the purposes of the law, would start at noon on Thursday and end at noon Monday.

The weekend helicopter ban, in addition to the first two restrictions, would put a huge dent in the number of complaints filed, according to HMMH. Helicopters accounted for 14,935 complaints last year alone, with 12,944 of those complaints were called in during weekend hours.

The last restriction would prohibit noisy aircraft from conducting more than two flights in any calendar week during the summer, in an effort to prevent touch-and-go operations.

All told, helicopter traffic would be restricted the most, by 75.9 percent annually, while plane and jet flights would be reduced by approximately 13.7 percent, if the town chooses to adopt the restrictions.

Peter Kirsch, the town’s aviation attorney, explained that each regulation should be presented as its own separate local law in order to give the public the opportunity to meaningfully comment on each specific restriction.

Violating the laws, if adopted, would be a misdemeanor punishable by fines and possible jail terms ranging from $1,000 or/and 90 days in jail for the first offense to a fine of up to $10,000 for the third offense. A fourth violation would see the individual aircraft banned from the airport for a period of up to two years.

“This was designed to make sure that users understand the town board is serious about the restrictions,” Mr. Kirsch said.

Local officials present were not prepared comment on the legislation, but many got up to thank the board for their transparency and inclusiveness during the process.

“I want to commend the town board for the openness and transparency,” said New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.

“This is how government is supposed to work and I think you’ve shown a fine process, it’s very, very important, there’s a lot of information here, the most important part of this is that it’s fact based and the public’s had the opportunity to comment,” he added.

Bob Malafronte, one of just two Southampton residents on the town’s airport noise subcommittee, also thanked the board for its work.

“It has been a hell of a long road, but we can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

A few aviation enthusiasts were present, and expressed their concern with the legislation. Bonnie Krupinski warned the town it was going down the path to closing the airport, and Cindy Herbst of Sound Aircraft said “even if half of these are initiated it’s the demise of East Hampton Airport and Sound Aircraft Services.”

Gerard Boleis, chairman of the airport planning committee’s aviation subcommittee, said his committee was unanimously against the regulations and warned that this could lead to “years of litigation and hundreds and thousands of dollars the town might lose.”

Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokesperson for the Friends of the East Hampton Airport coalition, submitted the following statement:

“The town has proposed an unprecedented and drastic set of restrictions that would block access to a federally funded airport, discriminate against helicopters and other operators and will likely fail to ever go into effect for a variety of reasons. If enacted, the town board’s recommendations would essentially shut down the airport during the summer,” he said.

“In addition, the town’s 2015 budget relies on an increase in air traffic. Today’s proposed restrictions would cut traffic by 31 percent, thus creating a significant budget deficit and forcing property tax increases,” he added. Mr. Riegelhaupt continued to say that these restrictions would cause a decrease in real estate value.

Airport opponents say the incessant aircraft noise has already caused a decrease in real estate values, and that noise abatement measures would in fact improve the value of the property near the airport.

Over the next few days, the airport’s budget and financial advisory committee will analyze the regulations to ensure the airport can remain sustainable. Peter Wadsworth, a member of BFAC, said he believes it’s possible to finance a reasonable level of capital programs at the airport and that it’s also possible to make up the possible loss of revenue if these restrictions are put in place.

The town is slated to vote to notice the legislation for public hearing at their next work session on Tuesday, February 10. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, at LTV Studios. Comments can be submitted to HTOcomments@EHamptonNY.gov. A copy of all of the legislation and supporting data will be uploaded to www.HTOPlanning.com.

Aviation Enthusiasts, Charter Companies File Two Complaints

Tags: , ,


helicopters

By Mara Certic

Just days before the East Hampton Board was scheduled to discuss draft legislation to impose for the first time restrictions at East Hampton Airport in an attempt to reduce noise complaints, an organization of aviation advocates and business owners has taken two legal steps it says are aimed at preserving equal access to the airport.

The coalition filed suit on Thursday, January 29, in federal District Court against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its administrator, Michael Huerta, and challenges the settlement in 2005 of a case involving airport opponents. The second complaint was made to the FAA—asking it to direct the town to complete work to close what it calls “critical safety and security gaps at the airport.”

The Friends of the East Hampton Airport coalition comprises small local businesses, aviation experts, business leaders and national aviation advocates. In addition to the Friends of the East Hampton Airport, four New York City-based helicopter charter companies, one jet charter company and the Helicopter Association International are listed as co-plaintiffs.

“Our coalition is eager to work with the town, the FAA and our fellow residents to help resolve complaints related to noise, but we won’t do it in a way that compromises safety or violates federal law,” Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokesman for the coalition, said in a press release issued on Thursday.

The first complaint filed by the coalition on Thursday is asking the court to determine that the FAA lacked the authority in a settlement agreement in 2005 to waive commitments East Hampton Town made when it accepted FAA funding. That decision has been interpreted by the current town government as meaning as of the first of the year it is free to impose use restrictions, such as curfews, at the airport.

In 2001, the town received a $1.4 million grant from the FAA, which normally, would have required the town to enforce certain commitments (called grant assurances,) for 20 years. It was later determined that the grant was acquired for guidelines and projects included in the 1996 airport master plan, which had never formally been adopted by the town board.

In a 2005 settlement with the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion, the FAA agreed not to enforce the grant restrictions related to the town’s proprietary power over the airport after December 31, 2014.

The coalition maintains the FAA has been inconsistent and mentioned a recent case involving the Santa Monica Airport in California, where the FAA stated that it “may not by agreement waive its statutory enforcement jurisdiction over future cases.”

“The coalition said that the inconsistency in the FAA’s position must be resolved quickly, because the town is actively considering the imposition of discriminatory restrictions as to the times, number and type of aircraft that can access the airport now that the FAA has putatively stopped enforcing the equal access assurances,” reads a press release issued by the coalition on Thursday.

“They’re still peddling this tired conspiracy theory that the town’s trying to shut down the airport,” said Pat Trunzo, a former town board member and one of the members of the Committee to Stop Airport Expansion.

Mr. Trunzo said he does not believe the suit will go too far, and that there isn’t really much question as to whether the FAA had the authority to waive the town’s commitments.

The noise subcommittee has been very careful when formulating how it phrases its recommendations, according to Mr. Trunzo, which, he said, led him to believe any challenges are unlikely to be fruitful.

“Any challenges to the town adopting a nighttime curfew are looking at equally dim prospects of success,” he said.

The second complaint asks the FAA to direct the town to address several safety and security issues the coalition says have long been ignored. Some of the improvements include replacing the lighting system, building a deer fence and removing some “hazardous obstructions,” including trees.

According to Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, many of the “ safety and security issues” brought up in the coalition’s complaint have been subject to town resolutions in the past year and have already been bonded for, and some have been completed.

An engineer is currently creating plans for deer fencing for the airport, and specs for an automated airport weather station are being drawn up in time for it to be installed before summer, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said.

“Despite claims by the board that the town can fund the airport and its maintenance without FAA grants, the board is contemplating arbitrary and discriminatory aircraft restrictions that would drastically reduce airport traffic during peak months, slashing the airport’s revenue and further depriving the airport of desperately needed safety and security improvements,” the coalition release states.

Last December, members of the airport finance subcommittee presented a report on airport revenue, which concluded that even if FAA funding was eliminated and the number of helicopters was reduced by half, the airport is in good financial shape.

Several revenue enhancements, including a paid parking system and some property rentals, could create even more income for the town, according to the budget committee.

Airport Noise Committee Recommends Curfews, Limits and Banning The Loudest Choppers

Tags: , , ,


 

helicopters

By Mara Certic

If the East Hampton Airport Planning Committee’s noise subcommittee get its way, strict curfews, limits on weekly operations and a complete ban on the loudest helicopters could be in effect by Memorial Day of this year.

Those were among the key recommendations made by the group to the town board in its final report, which was delivered on Tuesday, January 21.

The subcommittee, which is made up of members of the community on the East End who say they have suffered from airport noise, has held bimonthly meetings since it was formed early last year, to discuss the best way to tackle what many say is a decades-old problem.

David Gruber, chairman of the subcommittee, presented the recommendations to the town board.

“Noise due to aircraft has vexed this community for 30 years,” Mr. Gruber said, adding that the community has consistently asked the airport remain small and recreational, and that it not be allowed to be expanded into a busy commercial airport.

The first two phases of an independent noise analysis study contracted by the town were presented at the end of last year and corroborated much of what the anti-noise community had been saying for years: They are most bothered by aircraft arriving late at night and early in the morning and especially when there is a high frequency of flights, such as on busy summer weekends.

The analyses, the last of which will be presented on Tuesday, February 3, provided much of the basis for the noise committee’s suggestions.

The group’s proposal, which was endorsed by the Quiet Skies Coalition in a press release distributed on Tuesday afternoon, first recommends aircraft be rated into three categories: noisiest, noisy and quiet.

The noisiest aircraft tend to be helicopters and jets, while the quietest ones tend to be aircraft flown by recreational pilots. According to the Quiet Skies Coalition, this demonstrates the subcommittee’s “support for continued unlimited access to the airport by local pilots.”

According to flight information determined by Vector Reports, only 27 percent of the airport’s fleet, both those based there and those that visit, would fall into the noisiest category.

The noisiest aircraft, however, account for 54 percent of all landings at the airport.

The committee then proposed a number of restrictions based on those three categories.

The first is that operations by the noisiest types of aircraft (which measure in at more than 91 decibels) would be prohibited from 5 p.m. until 9 a.m. every day and be restricted to conducting just one trip per week, year-round. These noisiest aircraft would also be subjected to a noise pollution surcharge during summer weekends and holidays.

The noisiest helicopters would be banned entirely.  According to Mr. Gruber, the three most popular types of helicopters, the Sikorsky S-76, the Airbus Helicopters Écureuil, and the Airbus Helicopters TwinStar, account for two- thirds of all helicopter operations at the airport. They all also would be classified as the noisiest type and would be banned, under the rules. At 95.6 decibels, the Sikorsky helicopters are the loudest regularly using the airport.

The aircraft classified as merely noisy would only be subjected to a late curfew, and would not be allowed to land or take off after 7 p.m. or before 8 a.m.

“We believe it is time for the town to ask all airport users to employ the best and quietest aviation,” Mr. Gruber said, adding that there are many quiet alternatives available for all different kinds of aircraft.

“Helicopters in the Noisy (but not Noisiest) class, that would therefore be subject only to a late curfew, include the Eurocopter EC-155, the Eurocopter EC-120 Colibri, and the MD Helicopters MD600,” Mr. Gruber said.

“Of 13,000 landing operations last year, two-thirds were by commercial operators,” Mr. Gruber said. The remaining third, Mr. Gruber said, the local recreational pilots, would only be affected by the new curfew rule, as their aircraft tend to be the quietest.

“Local aviators have never been the problem,” former Town Councilman, noise subcommittee member and member of the Quiet Skies Coalition Pat Trunzo said in a press release from the Quiet Skies Coalition.

“Noise complaint data coupled with the proposed noise emissions categorization support that,” he added.

Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokesperson for the Friends of the East Hampton Airport released the following statement:

“While we had hoped the committee would offer new ideas that could generate a meaningful debate, instead they offered a set of old proposals that are ultimately aimed at closing the airport. Enacting these plans will severely impact local businesses and the local economy and create a huge gap in the town budget that taxpayers will ultimately have to make up for with higher property taxes. Rather than trying to close the airport, we should be working together to find common-sense solutions that protect our community’s access to aviation and the economic benefits that the airport provides.”

Also during Tuesday’s work session, Barry Holden, one of just three Southampton Town residents on the airport noise subcommittee, submitted a petition with more than 700 signatures to the town, echoing the recommendations of his group.

HMMH, the company conducting phase three of the noise analysis, will present its findings to the board on February 3. The firm will also present its recommended legislation which “may or may not be based on the noise committee’s recommendation,” Supervisor Larry Cantwell said on Tuesday.

The East Hampton Town Board had a special meeting in executive session on Wednesday, January 21, with their attorneys and outside counsel to discuss both pending and potential litigation related to the airport, Mr. Cantwell said.

 

 

 

 

 

Analysts Present East Hampton Airport Phase II Noise Study, Discuss Possible Solutions

Tags: , ,


Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 4.05.59 PM

Sag Harbor, Noyac and Shelter Island all had very high numbers of complaints about helicopter noise. This map shows where the “hotspots” of complaint density were. Image courtesy of  HMMH. 

By Mara Certic

Much like an earlier report did, the East Hampton Airport Phase II Noise Analysis report confirmed what many of the residents who are affected by noise on both forks have been saying for years: The problem is regional and it is extreme.

After over an hour of public comment from both airport critics and supporters on Tuesday, Ted Baldwin, of the environmental consulting firm Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. (HMMH), presented the second stage of the independent noise analysis contracted by the East Hampton Town Board, as part of its effort to tackle to long-standing issue of noise pollution from the East Hampton Airport.

The Phase I analysis report, which was prepared by Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, Young Environmental Sciences and the volunteer work of Peter Wadsworth, attracted criticism from the Friends of the East Hampton Airport. One of the main complaints about the first phase of the analysis, which was presented to the board and the public on October 30, was the use of 2013 data, rather than information from this year, which they said was “intentionally misleading” and showed that the study’s results were “hopelessly flawed and unusable.”

Perhaps in order to dispel some of the criticism of the first study, the second phase of the analysis was done using data from November 1, 2013 through October 31, 2014. In that period of time, 23,954 aircraft complaints were received and recorded.

“That’s an extraordinary number of complaints,” said Mr. Baldwin, who began his career as a noise officer at Logan International Airport in Boston, he said.

“We never received that level of complaints,” he said, adding the number of complaints logged at Logan has increased, but still amounts to only 1,000 to 1,200 per month.

“So there’s a very good reason we’re meeting here,” he added.

Mr. Baldwin explained the analysis of complaint statistics, including how many times specific households filed complaints. The almost 24,000 complaints came from 633 different households, he said. The top 10 complainers submitted over 400 complaints each, with the highest logging 2,800 throughout the year.

Mr. Baldwin said this was representative of common human behavior, and added that 500 households submitted over 20 complaints over the year.

He also looked at where the complaints came from, and found that the problem “covers the whole East End of Long Island.” Using this information, Mr. Baldwin found that areas where the highest number of helicopter complaints come from are in Sag Harbor, Noyac, North Sea and Shelter Island.

Analyzing complaint data showed that helicopter noise seems to be the real culprit, particularly when there are frequent operations taking place early in the morning and late at night.

Using the program Vector, which records the number of flight operations, Mr. Baldwin found there to have been approximately 26,000 operations during the year. Interestingly, 25 percent of all operations were conducted by 25 specific aircraft—14 of which were helicopters, five of which were single turbopropeller seaplanes, five of which were propeller aircraft and one was a jet.

Vector data also showed the airport’s busy season lasts from May 1 through October 31, and Mr. Baldwin noted that it is not unusual for specific aircraft to conduct several round trips on any given day, particularly helicopters and turboprops on weekends in the high season.

Katie van Heuven, of Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell, the town’s aviation attorney, then explained some of the solutions the town is considering, and some of the ideas that have already been rejected.

“The charge that the town gave us as consultants coming out of the October 30 meeting was two-fold. One, help refine the data into a precise problem statement which Ted has done a terrific job of doing,” she said.

“And two, going back to that list of alternatives,” she said, “how do these eight categories of restrictions line up with the problem,” she added.

The analysts have already deemed certain options unreasonable alternatives. Doing nothing, using fee-based alternatives, residential acquisition, sound insulation and federal restrictions have all been rejected as possible solutions.

After Mr. Baldwin used data to precisely define the problem, legal analysts have found that time-based restrictions may well provide part of a reasonable solution to the growing noise problem on the East End.

They will continue to analyze other options before presenting a complete plan, including a slot system, which could limit flights by time or type, certain voluntary measures and by banning certain types of aircraft.

Many members of the public who spoke during Tuesday morning’s work session suggested that a ban on helicopters was the only way to stop the problem. A North Fork resident named Adam Irving said the newly formed North Fork Helicopter Committee supports a full ban on the aircraft.

Elena Loreto, president of the Noyac Civic Council, echoed that sentiment.

“I’m asking for a total ban on helicopters,” she said. “Please consider being a good neighbor.”

Both the first and second phases of the airport noise analysis are available on the town’s website.

East Hampton Airport Supporters Blast Noise Study

Tags: ,


thiele

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. addressed the town board and the public at the presentation of the Phase 1 Noise Analysis Interim Report on Thursday morning. 

By Mara Certic

The analysts studying the aircraft noise problem at East Hampton Airport presented the first stage of their noise study last Thursday. They said what many airport critics have claimed in the past few years: The vast majority of helicopter pilots are not complying with voluntary noise abatement procedures, and the number of instances in which noise exceeds the recommended limits is astronomically high.

In response, the Friends of the East Hampton Airport sent out a letter on Wednesday, November 5, calling on the Suffolk County comptroller to conduct a thorough review of the $60,000 of public funds that were used to conduct this study.

The town’s aviation attorney, Peter Kirsch, and analysts Les Blomberg, Henry Young and Peter Wadsworth presented the Phase 1 Noise Analysis Interim Report on East Hampton Airport to the East Hampton Town Board and the public on the morning of Thursday, October 30.

“This is the kind of process that usually goes on very quietly,” Mr. Kirsch said, explaining the town board has been adamant about involving the community and seeking public comment at every opportunity.

Using a plethora tools and graphs, Mr. Blomberg, of Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, showed the board and a group of concerned citizens how different factors contribute to the noise problem on the East End. The noise problem is at its worst during summer months, with operations and complaints peaking on Friday and Sunday evenings and early Monday mornings.

When trying to determine the rate of helicopter compliance with the voluntary noise abatement routes, Mr. Blomberg first found that he did not have the data for approximately 40 percent of helicopter flights.

Without that missing data, Mr. Blomberg found that overall only 15.3 percent of helicopter pilots comply with height restrictions and the voluntary noise abatement routes. Of those arriving over Georgica Pond, 37.7 percent comply with voluntary procedures, he said, but that is by far the highest rate of compliance. Only 1.9 percent of those departing over Jessup’s Neck in Noyac are complying with the voluntary measures, and just 3.9 percent of helicopters leaving over Barcelona Point east of Sag Harbor are following those guidelines.

The Friends of East Hampton Airport called the study “wildly misleading and inaccurate” in a release accompanying a letter to Supervisor Larry Cantwell. According to the airport supporters, the compliance data presented on Thursday is “entirely incorrect” and claimed the town’s records show higher levels of compliance.

Mr. Blomberg identified every parcel within 10 miles of the airport and then, using the noise criteria from the East Hampton Town Code, determined every time an aircraft caused a noise “exceedance” for each property — the number of times each parcel experiences a noise impact over the limit.

Using this model, Mr. Blomberg found that in 2013, properties within 10 miles of the airport were affected by aircraft noise that measured above town code levels a total of 31.8 million times. This comes down to noise exceeding the daytime limit of 65 decibels 16.7 million times, and going over 50 decibels between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. 15.1 million times.

“There was no operation that did not exceed the noise ordinance at some point,” Mr. Blomberg said, but added the “rattle” effect of helicopters draws more attention to their noise, and is often found to be more annoying.

The Friends of the East Hampton Airport criticized the analysts for using this data, claiming, “this inflammatory data purported to show millions of “exceedances” of the town’s noise ordinance.  There is no community in the United States that bases aviation noise restrictions on such measures because federal law has preempted the regulation of aviation noise.”

The letter also said the use of data from 2013 rather than 2014 is “intentionally misleading, and at the very least, it shows that the Noise Study’s results are hopelessly flawed and unusable.”

Supervisor Cantwell on Wednesday said the decision to use last year’s data was because “the analysis has been ongoing and the 2014 year is not complete. The consultants chose one full complete year of data and that was 2013.”

Mr. Wadsworth, the only volunteer analyst, conducted a study of the noise complaints. From January to September of this year, air traffic control showed there were 22,350 flight operations in and out of the airport. In the same period of time there have been 22,700 complaints. The vast majority of those complaints were for helicopter operations, which only account for one third of all aircraft operations.

By looking at where each complaint came from, Mr. Wadsworth determined most airport noise complaints come from the Town of Southampton. At 23 percent, most of the complaints came from Noyac, followed by Sag Harbor at 17 percent, Shelter Island at 15 percent and the North Fork at 13 percent. Another 12.5 percent of all complaints come from the East Hampton side of Sag Harbor, he said.

The analysis of complaints also angered the Friends of the East Hampton Airport, who said the data was meaningless unless the number of complainants, and how many times each person complained was included.

Mr. Wadsworth’s study did not include the number of times each person called, but page six of his presentation was dedicated to a graph showing the number of households per town that filed complaints.

The Friends of the East Hampton Airport said the data was unreliable also because it doesn’t “mention anywhere that the town ran ads asking people to call in.”

“Of course, when people want to make a complaint we want to make that system available to them,” Supervisor Cantwell said on Wednesday. “And when we have a complaint line we like to make people aware of it.”

One of the most common grievances of those troubled by aircraft noise is the lengthy and difficulty complaint process. In recent meetings, residents from East Hampton, Southampton and even the North Fork have said they have “given up” calling the complaint hotline.

“It’s hardly surprising to me that the Friends of the East Hampton Airport would be critical of what we’re trying to do,” Mr. Cantwell said, but added: “We’re always happy to have the suggestions and recommendations of the helicopter industry and from Save East Hampton Airport.”

The town is actively seeking public comment on the aircraft noise problem asks written comments be submitted to HTOcomments@EhamptonNY.gov.

 

Airport Special Meeting

Tags: ,


Noise consultants for East Hampton Town will present the first phase of their airport noise analysis at a special meeting on Thursday, October 30, at 10 a.m.

Henry Young and Les Blomberg of Young Environmental Sciences will present the interim report to the board. Afterward Peter Kirsch, the town’s aviation attorney, will speak on some of the potential next steps and alternatives.

Thursday’s meeting is the first stage of the town’s noise abatement efforts. The board voted last month to impose regulations on the airport in an effort to mitigate the noise pollution in East Hampton and the surrounding communities.

The meeting on Thursday morning will take place at the East Hampton Village Emergency Services Building, 1 Cedar Street in East Hampton.

Taking Aim at Airport Noise

Tags: , ,


The East Hampton Town Board unanimously adopted a resolution on Thursday, September 18, to put in regulations at East Hampton Airport in order to curtail an ongoing and increasing noise problem.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, was read aloud and discussed at a work session on Tuesday, September 16.

Without naming any specific regulations, the town board resolved to identify and adopt regulations that would address noise disturbances from the airport. Henk Houtenbos, a local pilot, spoke during the public portion of Thursday’s meeting.  He brought up a resolution passed by the previous town board on August 2012, which “announced its intent to pursue use restrictions on operations at the airport.”

“What I noticed as well is that there were two members of this council who actually voted against that resolution. It was Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc and Councilwoman Sylvia Overby,” Mr. Houtenbos said.

He asked how those two members of the board planned on voting on Thursday, and what, if anything has changed.

Mr. Van Scoyoc told him to “stay tuned.” All four of the board members present voted for the resolution. Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez, who was absent from Thursday’s meeting, said last week the board hopes to have proposed aircraft regulations drafted by Christmas.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the board unanimously voted to send Peter Boody, senior airport attendant, to a free workshop in Washington, D.C., this month sponsored by Whereas Exelis, Inc. The company provides aircraft tracking services at the town airport.

Sag Harbor Joins Airport Foes

Tags: ,


helicopters

 

Sag Harbor, which until Tuesday stood alone as the only municipality not taking a stand on the East Hampton Airport, came into the fold. Near the end of its monthly meeting, the village board hastily adopted a resolution offered by Trustee Ed Deyermond calling on the town to stop accepting grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration and develop a comprehensive plan to control noise and limit air traffic, including adopting a curfew.

“We’re the only village that hasn’t taken a stance on the airport,” Mr. Deyermond said, referring to actions by other municipalities, including East Hampton Village and North Haven and other towns, including Southampton, Shelter Island and Southold. “And I think we should mirror what the other villages have done.”

His resolution, which had not yet been written, passed unanimously, and Fred W. Thiele Jr., the board’s attorney, said that he would prepare a written version for the record.

East Hampton Airport Founder’s Eyes Were on the Stars

Tags: ,


photo

Charlotte Niles, who founded the East Hampton Airport to teach locals how to fly in 1946. Photographs courtesy of Charlot Taylor.

By Mara Certic

Charlotte Niles was born in September 1913 in New York. Her father was a lawyer and a founder of the Wildlife Conservation Society. According to her niece, Charlot Taylor of East Hampton, she grew up rather comfortably and spent her summers in the family’s home on Amagansett’s Main Street, where it still stands today.

But when World War II began, Ms. Niles knew it was her time to pitch in. She trained with the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. Ms. Taylor still has letters that her aunt wrote to the family during the time of her “rigorous” training in the intense Texas heat.

Ms. Taylor remembers her aunt telling her of the various bombers she flew during the war. The WASP motto was “We live in the wind and sand… and our eyes are on the stars.” Perhaps Ms. Niles took those words to heart, for when the war ended, she decided to come back to where she spent her summers and bring aviation to the East End.

In 1946, Ms. Niles set up shop at the small East Hampton Airport, which, at the time, her niece remembers to be nothing more than a large field.  According to her niece, Ms. Niles built a small terminal, a hangar, two short runways and installed a gas pump.

“I don’t even remember that there was a parking lot,” Ms. Taylor said at her East Hampton home on Wednesday. She does remember her aunt flying her around the area, taking her to nearby islands. “‘Let’s go for a spin,’ she’d say” and niece and aunt would spend the afternoon exploring the East End from the sky.Charlotte Niles 2

Ms. Taylor also recalls a split rail fence around the airport, and at each post there was “a beautiful red rose,” she said. “Things were done with care and simplicity and beauty. It was a pleasant environment, it was a welcome to visitors,” Ms. Taylor said.

Ms. Niles gave flying lessons for $3 a pop, to local GIs, potato farmers, the two airport secretaries and Perry B. Duryea. According to her niece, she was always trying to teach other women how to fly the small prop planes that, at that time, were the only aircraft in and out of the airport.

One day, a Bonanza plane landed at the East Hampton Airport and Ms. Niles’s life changed. She fell in love with its pilot and they got married. Her husband had a boatyard in Massachusetts, where Ms. Niles ended up spending most of her time.

Ms. Taylor doesn’t remember exactly when her aunt moved on from her airport life, but a Newsday article from December 1955 names the East Hampton Airport manager as a Mr. Lamb. In that same article, the airport manager reportedly rejected a proposed $1.5 million expansion of the airport, deeming it “too grandiose.”

Ms. Niles died in 1981. Next Tuesday, September 9 would have been her 101st birthday, according to her niece.

Another Newsday article, this one from 1952, spoke of socialites stranded on the East End following a Long Island Rail Road strike, who decided to “take to the air.”  “The traffic, though unexpected, was not unprecedented at the airport, which has transported as many as 150 passengers in a single week end,” the article read.  On one weekend in July this year, there were 623 flights reported at the airport.

Ms. Taylor who said she was previously never particularly affected by aircraft noise, is among the group imploring the town board to reject FAA funding and put in place restrictions. “My aunt would be shocked and horrified to see what the airport has become,” she said at the special airport meeting on August 27. “This was never, never her intention, make no mistake.”

East Hampton Town Names Next Airport Manager

Tags: , , ,


helicopters

The East Hampton Town Board announced on Tuesday that they intend to appoint Jemille Charlton as airport manager following new of Jim Brundige’s resignation.

Mr. Charlton has held the position of airport attendant since May 2013. The 33-year-old attended New York Military Academy, Community College of the Air Force and, according to a press release issued by Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez’s office, will graduate from Dowling College School of Aviation with a degree in Airport Management in May 2015.

“I believe we can take our airport into the future while maintaining our unique East End quality of life. Being a third-generation resident and now raising the fourth here, I understand what it means to be fully invested in this community, and will strive to maintain its ideals and values. As a community, we must think rationally and responsibly to ensure the stability of our East End for generations to come,” he said in the release.

“Jemille is a young man with a solid background in aviation, impeccable credentials and deep roots in our community. As a 15-year member of the Air National Guard, we are proud of his service to our country and I look forward to partnering with him as we develop a plan that addresses the Airport’s finances, infrastructure, capital and noise issues,” Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said.

The resolution to appoint Mr. Charlton is scheduled for the town board’s regular meeting on Thursday, September 4 at 6:30 p.m. If passed, Mr. Charlton’s position will take effect immediately. According to the release, Mr. Brundige will stay at the airport to help with the transition until October 17.