Tag Archive | "east hampton airport"

Over 30 Protesters Picket at the East Hampton Airport Friday

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East Hampton Airport Protest

By Kathryn G. Menu; Photography by Laurie Barone-Schaefer

The Quiet Skies Coalition (QSC), an organization dedicated to addressing quality of life issues stemming from the East Hampton Airport, conducted a demonstration at the East Hampton Airport on Daniels Hole Road in Wainscott last Friday evening. The event drew more than 30 residents and QSC members from Sag Harbor, East Hampton, Springs, Wainscott and Noyac.

Residents carried signs, stood along Daniels Hole Road and at the tarmac exit hoping to raise the awareness of passengers and pilots that aircraft noise, particularly from helicopters, jets and seaplanes, has created a problem for some East End residents, said QSC chairwoman Kathy Cunningham in a press release issued Monday.

New to the protest this year were Rebecca Young and Bill Pickens of Sag Harbor Hills who, along with residents of Azurest and Ninevah and Merchants Path, are shouldering the biggest aircraft noise burden as a result of the new departure route brokered by the East Hampton Town Board to relieve the doubling of helicopter noise over Noyac last summer.

“The air traffic over our neighborhood has increased so much that it has negatively impacted our quality of life. We’d consider selling the house but this air traffic has decreased the value of our home,” said Becky Young.

“Route distribution is a losing strategy,” said Cunningham, “as the basic choice is to decide into which of your neighbor’s yards your going to throw your trash. Without meaningful access limits, someone is always going to be victimized by uncontrolled aircraft noise.”

“The only effective noise mitigation plan is to limit access to East Hampton Airport,” continued Cunningham. “In 16 short months, the East Hampton Town Board will legally be able to create reasonable aircraft noise policy by imposing curfews, limits on numbers and concentrations of flights and banning the noisiest aircraft altogether.”

The Quiet Skies Coalition will soon be publicizing results of town board candidates survey on airport noise issues.

 

East Hampton Airport Fees Hearing Brings Out Anti-Noise Advocates

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By Kathryn G. Menu

 

John Kirrane can’t vote in East Hampton Town, but he believes his quality of life and potentially the value of his Noyac home have been so damaged by the East Hampton Airport that he can no longer stay silent.

And he is not alone.

Kirrane was one of a half dozen speakers to take the podium at the East Hampton town board meeting during a public hearing last Thursday granting the board the ability to increase landing fees as a resolution rather than a local law.

After the hearing the town board adopted that local law and also unanimously altered the landing fees for 2013 at the airport.

According to the resolution, light single engine planes will see an increase from $7 to $10; light multi-engine propeller planes will see an increase from $15 to $10; single engine turbine planes will have to pay $84 as opposed to $74, multi-engine turbine planes will see an increase from $100 to $125; multi-engine turbine planes between 12,500 pounds and over 50,000 pounds will see increased fees from $250 to a maximum of $600 for the larger airplanes. Helicopter landing fees, depending on the model, will increase between $25 per landing to $500 per landing for the larger helicopters.

Projected landing fee revenues for 2013, based on this change, are estimated at $1,269,038.

Bur for Kirrane and the others who spoke at the public hearing, the primary concern was less about landing fees and more about ensuring noise from the airport is addressed. Specifically, they want to ensure the airport can financially support itself. They argued if the airport can support itself that would remove the need for the town to seek airport funding through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If the town board does not take more FAA funding, the speakers maintain, the town would have more control over its airport and could impose restrictions that could contend with airport noise.

Kirrane said outside of East Hampton, the airport is not only becoming viewed as a liability for that town, but for the whole East End.

“I have spent my career in financial planning,” Kirrane told the board. “I have seen business plans that stink and yours — I grew up in Brooklyn — it doesn’t smell good.”

Kirrane apologized throughout his dialogue for his manner.

“But I’m angry. I have had your trash thrown in my backyard for the last 10 months,” he said referring to aircraft noise pollution.

Kirrane said many believe a desire for airport expansion by a mere few in East Hampton Town is leading the charge behind the scenes.

“The appearance to the west is there are special interests here that are creating a situation where the good of the people is succumbing to the good of the few,” said Kirrane.

“It’s extremely frustrating I don’t have the opportunity to vote on this issue, but you have imposed an incredible tax on me and my neighbors,” said Kirrane, who added he supports increases in landing fees.

For many residents of Noyac it is the events of last summer — when two voluntary helicopter flight paths, one over Northwest Woods in East Hampton and one over Jessup’s Neck in Sag Harbor, was eliminated to just the Sag Harbor route — that represented the breaking point.

On Thursday night, councilwoman Theresa Quigley said she, too, was frustrated that decision happened outside the realm of the full town board through a committee including airport manager Jim Brundige and town councilman Dominick Stanzione as well as the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council.

“It is a serious problem we have to grapple with,” said Quigley. “It was been handled inappropriately.”

Quigley added she believed it was the town board’s responsibility to deal with that very issue.

“There are things that once something is done it is hard to undo,” said Kirrane. “If you are to give up control of your airport to the FAA it would be a mistake of magnitude far beyond my ability to forecast.”

He added that as a 50-year resident of Southampton Town, it is not his ideal to see the airport closed.

“Local pilots who have small planes, God bless them, I have no issue, but when we have people using gigantic helicopters and private jets that appear to have no place out here you can’t create enough routes,” he said.

Kathy Cunningham, chair of the Quiet Skies Coalition (QSC) — an organization dedicated to aiding those impacted by noise created by East Hampton Airport — called on the board to create a business plan for the airport to ensure it was self sustaining.

“Without a proper business plan how is anyone supposed to understand the impact the revenue stream will have on the airport’s financial self sustainability,” she asked.

Cunningham said while for years the airport has sustained itself, she believes the creation of the seasonal air traffic control tower — proposed to be permanent and something she believes is an expansion of the airport — demands a full financial plan for the airport.

Without such a plan, Cunningham surmised, the town will be forced to take FAA funding, which QSC maintains will erode any chance the town has of truly controlling air traffic into the airport come 2014 when previous grant assurances under the FAA expire.

“We all know under the FAA restrictions that come with funding your board is inhibited if not prohibited from exercising proprietary rights” over the airport, agreed QSC vice chairman Charles Ehrens.

“I would like to propose the fees be vastly increased with a portion distributed to residents who have lost the peaceful enjoyment of their homes,” agreed Steven Levine, a Sagaponack resident. “People contributing to the loss of peace and quiet should incur the full cost of the use of the facilities they use to get here.”

Town board members, including Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc noted the fee schedule had been altered to match those out of other airports, including New York City.

Residents Make Noise About East Hampton Airport

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Heller_Public Meeting @ EH Airport 5-1-13_9777

By Amanda Wyatt

As East Hampton Airport seeks to install a permanent, seasonal air traffic control tower, a number of East End residents are once again bringing the issue of airport noise to the forefront of that discussion.

Last Wednesday, roughly 60 residents turned out for a public hearing at the airport on an environmental assessment of the proposed control tower. And although the assessment does not cite noise as an area of concern, it was a high priority for many of the attendees.

According to Peter Byrne, senior airport planner at the Hauppauge-based firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., the hearing was part of a formal process under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Byrne gave the audience an overview of the 26-feet, four-inch tower, which would be functional for roughly 16 hours a day between May and September.

From an enclosed glass cab, air traffic controllers would use a high frequency radio to communicate with aircraft owners. The tower would also come equipped with “a steady burning, red obstruction light,” he added.

Nonetheless, the majority of commenters at the hearing aired their grievances not about the tower, but about noise pollution generated by the airport in general.

Airport noise has been an issue debated in East Hampton and beyond for years, but became increasingly controversial last summer, when one of two recommended helicopter flight paths was eliminated, rerouting all helicopter traffic over Jessup’s Neck in Noyac.

Residents of the hamlet, along with North Sea, Sag Harbor and other surrounding areas, have reported a major increase in noise as a result. For the last year, those residents have been joined by government officials like Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, Congressman Tim Bishop, Senator Charles Schumer, New York State Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., among others including members of civic organizations, in calling for a comprehensive strategy to address helicopter noise stemming from the airport before another busy summer season begins.

At the same time, the environmental assessment discussed at last Wednesday’s meeting does not include Noyac or the surrounding area as being one impacted by the control tower. Bridget Fleming, a Southampton Town councilwoman who serves as the liaison to Noyac, asked that the area of study be expanded to include these locales.

The study “does not note anything about the concomitant increase in noise over Noyac, North Sea and the Sag Harbor area,” said Fleming. “The presence of the tower has a very real impact on those areas and the areas that are outside the study area.”

For Kathleen Cunningham, chair of the Quiet Skies Coalition, the control tower “offers safety, but it also increases capacity.”

Patricia Currie, a fellow Quiet Skies member, said, “Increased capacity is noise.”

Theresa Caskey, who traveled from Mattituck on the North Fork to give her testimony, said planes on their way to East Hampton were waking her up early in the morning.

Tom MacNiven of Wainscott added that holding a hearing mid-week was a problem for many second homeowners in the area and that it had not been properly publicized.

For some residents, the hearing was a chance for some show-and-tell.

William Reilly of Sag Harbor held up a stack of notebooks that recorded the “hundreds” of times he had called to complain about noise over the years.

And Elena Loreto, president of the Noyac Civic Council, played a tape of helicopter noise she had recorded at her house last weekend.

“Welcome to my backyard,” she shouted over the sound of choppers. “This is my Saturday and Sunday.”

Noyac resident Gene Polito, on the other hand, questioned the accuracy of the environmental report.

“Apparently, the report you put together is flawed from top to bottom,” he said, adding “noise pollution is environmental. Air pollution is environmental. Everything related to the airport is environmental.”

Jeff Bragman of East Hampton, who called the control tower “a sales pitch by the airport lobby,” lambasted the fact that the hearing was moderated by “a couple of suits from Hauppauge.”

“This hearing is everything about why we need local control instead of FAA control,” he said, eliciting applause from the audience.

But Gerard Boles of East Hampton, an aircraft owner and president of the East Hampton Aviation Association, offered a different perspective.

“With the amount of traffic that we have in the summertime, the control tower proves to be beneficial,” he said.

While he said it was “not a panacea, it is not the solution,” he believed that “all in all, a control tower is positive, even for noise abatement.”

A draft of the environmental assessment is available on the Town of East Hampton’s website, www.town.east-hampton.ny.us. The airport will continue to accept written comments on the subject until 5 p.m. on May 13.

Public Hearing for Increasing Fees at East Hampton Airport this Thursday

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On Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m. the East Hampton Town Board will host a public hearing on raising landing fees at the East Hampton Airport.

Last week, airport manager Jim Brundige presented a plan to raise landing fees beginning this season. Under his plan, landing fees for single engine aircraft would be raised from $7 to $10 while some helicopters would see an increase in fees from $350 to $500.

Letters to the Editor (2/28/13)

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Effect of Airport Noise

Dear Editor,

The complexities of manmade borders have always been problematic to some degree on the East End; but with recent population/commercial expansion, some border issues have escalated into serious multi-town crises. I am referring to the East Hampton Airport noise control controversy and who gets to decide what amount of noise pollution is acceptable to homeowners other than the homeowners themselves. Shockingly the East Hampton Town government pays no heed to the greater East End area surrounding the airport and furthermore that what they decide about the future of the airport affects only them. They need to hear from Southampton residents that helicopter noise is intolerable and that all flights in and out of the airport need thoughtful community-minded noise abatement management. And to all Southampton residents, you may be unaffected by these hourly sonic boom shockwaves right now, but when property values start to fall as a result, it will certainly affect us all.

John N Linder

Sag Harbor

 

Rallying for Safety

Dear Editor:

We like safety. We, neighbors in Noyac, are deeply invested in seeing a safe, smart solution to the mess in the Cromer’s / Whalebone parking area that bleeds onto Noyac Road, and now, if plan 7A is implemented, will instead bleed into Pine Neck. In the quiet months before seasonal influx of visitors hungry for summer fun, we can vividly imagine the rumblings of back hoes and cement mixers revving up, and while we chat on the street or in the Noyac Civic Council meetings or in the Southampton Town Hall or over coffee at Cromers, we discuss the alarming calming-one-safety-problem-while-creating-another-problem plan for Noyac Road known as plan 7A. And though it may appear that the deed is done and the opportunity to de-fund the Noyac Traffic Calming “solution” (good luck to those new to the project who will try to dig up plan 7A online) has passed with only an ineffectual Memorializing Resolution issued, we still sense opportunity.

There’s opportunity to know our neighbors and their concerns, to understand the diverse Pine Neck community of ‘year-rounders’ and garner support for amending this plan. Some of us have lived many places, some of us grew up here and stayed, all of us appreciate the rare ‘untouched’ nature of Circle Beach and the boardwalk-like approach to it via Noyac Avenue. This is a diverse neighborhood economically and politically,  a neighborhood of artists, musicians, former CEOs and tradesmen, of dog walkers ambling and first time bike riders pushing off, and parents watching from a distance their child’s first strides of independence while pretending not to watch, because it’s safe.

There’s opportunity to stand up for a broader consideration of safety that includes Pine Neck pedestrians and Noyac Road bike riders, and to see Noyac neighbors coalesce around challenging the excessive expenditures of tax-payer dollars in an overblown plan that compromises the character of a neighborhood without due consideration of environmental impact and pedestrian/bike commuting safety. We can take a step back and do the proper studies that include environmental impact review (SEQR) and make informed choices.

There’s opportunity still to seek efficient, lasting solutions with the community and with Superintendent Alex Gregor, who, though it may be the 11th hour, has graciously met with a few neighbors recently to discuss the ‘concept’ renderings, and who concedes there have been less disruptive (to Pine Neck) plans developed that were shelved. Make no mistake Mr. Gregor is behind the current plan and will be seeking a bid and he has the last word as the project is funded. But I for one left the meeting feeling that he is a good man with a bad plan, and that this push forward has more to do with battle fatigue, and resistance from commercial interests, than with what’s best for Noyac. We remain convinced that there is still opportunity to reach out for public support for a win-win solution, one that addresses the big picture of Noyac’s evolution towards street safety and recreational flow, and hopefully opportunity to undo the mischaracterization of Pine Neck residents as self-serving resistors to a safe solution. I’m proud to see my neighbors are part of the solution and not part of the problem, part of the smart solution, that is.

Respectfully,

Susan Bachemin

Noyac

 

Show Up

 

Dear Bryan,

In his recent letter, the Sag Harbor PBA President wrote that I have an “agenda,” but did not explain what he thinks my agenda is concerning the PBA, contracts, and local government. In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. PBA President, what is my agenda?

It is now one month later and still no reply to my simple request to be informed by the PBA President as to what my “agenda” is regarding police unions. I am not surprised, but no matter.

On Saturday, March 9th at 10 a.m. come hear me make my case. I have secured the Pierson High School auditorium and paid for the liability insurance to host this event.  Hey, the least you can do is show up. If nothing else, it will be great theater.

Bottom line….I’m putting myself  “out there” on behalf of local governments across Long Island versus the tyranny of police unions and their destruction of our communities. Because I love government and because I accept our individual responsibility to it, I will have done my part. All you need to do is show up.

Bill Jones

Hampton Bays

 

 

 

Airport Reclassification, Noise Issues Raised at East Hampton Town Board

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A handful of residents approached the East Hampton Town Board during its Thursday, February 21 meeting, concerned about whether or not residents of Noyac would find relief from helicopter traffic this summer season, and the potential reclassification of the East Hampton Airport into a “regional airport” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

During the public portion section of the meeting, Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) member Bob Malafronte confronted the board about the upgrade, asking if the town had any input in this change by the FAA.

On Monday, Quiet Skies Coalition Chair Kathy Cunningham said Deputy Supervisor Theresa Quigley, who was absent from the meeting, was looking into the issue. However, the QSC remained concerned enough about this situation to send a statement out on Monday morning.

“The Quiet Skies Coalition has just leaned that the FAA, months ago, classified the East Hampton Airport not as a ‘local’ facility but as a ‘regional airport,” the second highest of four categories of General Aviation Airports,” said the organization.

According to the QSC, the four heliports in Manhattan are not classified in any of the four categories – national, regional, lower and basic – although they are also considered general aviation airports.

Although the designation of the East Hampton airport as “Regional” appears in an appendix to a May FAA report, neither airport management nor town board airport liaison, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, has made that designation public, charges QSC.

“I am shocked”, said Cunningham, “that our local airport is seen by Washington as regional. I note that the document including that determination defines ‘regional airports’, in part, as ‘always in a metropolitan area’ where ‘jet and turboprop flying is prominent’ and includes ‘international flying’. These are hardly appropriate descriptions of our airport or our community.”

On Monday, Cunningham said the implication in this classification of the airport is that safety standards will be stricter and more expensive to comply with than what would be required for a basic or local airport, making the argument for FAA funding – and therefore grant restrictions – stronger.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said in an interview that he did not believe the reclassification was something that happened behind closed doors with any member of the town board. While town attorney John Jilnicki was looking into the matter, early research indicated that the FAA reclassified the East Hampton Airport along with about 3,000 other airports based on its usage.

“This is not a case where the town went in and tried to get an upgrade or applied to increase this from local to regional,” he said. “I think it was innocent.”

Wilkinson said Jilnicki was researching what, if any, impact this would have on the airport and the town board would address any issues that arise with the reclassification if it does in fact impact operations or maintenance of the airport.

Noyac Civic Council President Elena Loreto, offering the board a faux olive branch, asked the town board if they would attend a meeting organized by the NCC with members of the Southampton Town Board, Congressman Tim Bishop and New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.

While the date of that meeting has yet to be scheduled, the board appeared amenable to the idea.

She also asked if there was any hope of relief for residents of Noyac, who bear the full brunt of helicopter traffic after a Jessup’s Neck route into the East Hampton Airport from the North Shore became the lone suggested route for helicopter traffic.

Stanzione said the airport manager and other professionals would be reviewing the noise abatement program and will bring a recommendation to the board within the next 30 to 60 days.

Quiet Skies Coalition Continues Call for Noise Study

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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.

Airport Protests Continue in East Hampton

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Following a September 24 meeting of the multi-town helicopter noise committee, where representatives from the East End towns along with members of the Quiet Skies Coalition and the Federal Aviation Administration met to discuss airport noise and flight paths into the East Hampton Airport, this week a series of protests are planned. Next week, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst will speak to one of the most affected communities — Noyac — about air traffic noise. That talk will take place at a meeting of the Noyac Civic Council on Tuesday, October 9 at the Bridgehampton Community Center at 7:30 p.m.

In an email sent to its followers, the Quiet Skies Coalition — a not-for-profit made up of East Hampton and Southampton residents — announced two new demonstrations at the East Hampton Airport, located on Daniels Hole Road.

Quiet Skies Coalition chairwoman Kathy Cunningham urged those affected by air traffic to converge for a peaceful demonstration this Wednesday, October 3 and Thursday, October 4 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

The coalition has also planned a march on East Hampton Village on Saturday, October 6 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. starting at the small park in front of the Ralph Lauren RRL store. The march will follow village sidewalks south along Main Street, looping around John Pappas Café and along the Reutershan lot and back to the park.

Photography by Michael Heller

Throne-Holst & Scalera Face “Hostile” Residents Fed Up With Airport Noise

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By Amy Patton

In a room packed with Noyac residents at the Bridgehampton Community Center Tuesday night, the mood at the Noyac Civic Council’s (NCC) monthly meeting was decidedly hostile. Citizens bombarded Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Christine Scalera with queries regarding official actions they hope will be taken to control airport noise in the area.

The source of the aggravation is air traffic — particularly low-flying helicopters —using East Hampton Airport on a flight path that takes them over Jessup’s Neck on their way to and from Long Island Sound. It’s been a continual annoyance, many residents say, since early summer and an unacceptable burden of noise pollution from the sky.

“It’s certainly more than we’ve had in previous years,” noted Randy Ackerman, who said that the disturbances from aircraft seemed to accelerate over the summer months.

Ackerman, a member of the Noyac Civic Council who has lived on Tredwell Lane with her husband, Gary, for 10 years, added that her street receives a hefty bulk of the daily air traffic burden.

“When they fly over, the windows vibrate and our dog jumps up,” said Ackerman. “We were out in the garden over the past weekend and we could barely hear our conversation.”

Ackerman said that she and her fellow civic council members hope to work on “sharing the burden” of air traffic with residents of East Hampton through a “south shore route” flight path.

“It’s a safety issue as well,” chimed in Elena Loreto, president of the NCC. “With the amount of air traffic traveling over the Noyac area alone, there have been several near-misses of helicopters in the air.”

East Hampton’s airport, she said, “was built originally to serve local recreational pilots. It wasn’t designed to take on this heavy burden of commercial traffic that is impacting local neighborhoods this way.”

Supervisor Throne-Holst spent much of the evening trying to soothe the concerns of the residents, who have had ongoing complaints about aircraft noise. She added that Southampton Town is working on solutions based on the deluge of reports that have been received in the past 10 months from homeowners.

To that end, she added that a meeting will take place Monday, September 17, at Southampton Town Hall to address noise concerns “and find solutions.“ In addition to Throne-Holst and Scalera, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airport management team of East Hampton and representatives from the pilot’s association will be in attendance at that meeting which, she said, is not open to the public.

Another hot-button issue raised at Tuesday’s NCC meeting was the town’s proposed “traffic-calming” plan which has been designed to slow vehicles on Noyac Road in front of two of the halmet’s commercially-zoned properties — Cromer’s Market and the Whalebone General Store.

A raised median separating the commercial lot from the roadway and complete re-construction of Noyac Road (including the addition of a center island) has been proposed by Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor. The plan comes with a reported price tag of $480,000 and it drew vocal ire from a majority of attendees at Tuesday’s meeting.

Most of those who spoke railed against the proposal and agreed that “small steps” are needed instead to slow down traffic in the area. These include devices such as rumble strips, pedestrian crosswalks where drivers are mandated by state law to stop, and even, as a partial solution for traffic calming, blinking yellow “slow” or red traffic lights.

Tom Gustin, who shares a home with his wife in the Pine Neck section of Noyac near Cromer’s and the Whalebone, said traffic and quality of life in that area would be negatively affected by the plan.

“We don’t want it,” he said, to the applause of others in attendance.

Towns Talk Airport Noise as Protests Continue

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On Monday evening, Julia Friedman decided to have a dinner party at her home in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Noyac. She invited a handful of friends over, but Friedman’s spaghetti with clam sauce would not be the only aspect of the evening that would awe her guests.Between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., Friedman and her guests counted over 20 helicopters and jets flying near her home, drowning out the dinner conversation that had naturally turned to the increase in air traffic the Friedman family and others in Noyac say they have experienced this summer season.

“I don’t mind having some of the noise but should we have to deal with almost all of it,” asked an exasperated Friedman on Tuesday morning. “It was just one after the other and then another and then another.”

On Tuesday, September 4, the East Hampton Town Board discussed this perceived inequality many residents of Southampton have been railing about for most of the summer — since it was announced a Jessup’s Neck route was the sole helicopter route being suggested for those flying into East Hampton Airport from Long Island Sound.

On Tuesday, East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said he understood this concern and had informed Southampton Town it was by no means the intention of his town board to place the burden of airport noise solely on the shoulders of Southampton residents.

Supervisor Wilkinson mentioned a September 10 meeting, during which it has been proposed that town supervisors and board members from both East Hampton and Southampton would meet with Federal Aviation Association (FAA) representatives, airport managers, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and Congressman Tim Bishop, among others, to talk about ensuring airport noise is fairly dispersed and not targeted around one community.

According to a representative with Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s office, that September 10 meeting has been cancelled but will be rescheduled shortly.

However, on Tuesday, airport liaison and East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione said the multi-town noise advisory committee, made up of elected officials from the five East End towns, as well as airport managers and FAA officials, would meet soon to discuss the issue.

“We have invited the FAA to come in with some of their mapping people to take a close look at the options with adjustments of tweaks to the power line route being used by helicopter pilots,” said Stanzione.

However, Stanzione said that ultimately, after meeting with FAA officials last week, it was clear that helicopter pilots do have a “high level of flexibility when it comes to traversing the skies, not only here on Long Island but across the United States.” He added that voluntary agreements between pilots and air traffic control professionals on preferential routes are the most viable solution given that flexibility.

Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc said he believed the board should research both the demographics of who is using the airport and also where people are ultimately going, to ensure a fair distribution is, in fact, fair.

“If 60 percent of the helicopter users are ultimately going into Southampton that should play into the discussion about how to make things equitable,” he said.

Agreeing that was a good suggestion, Stanzione added that ultimately aviation needed to be a discussion that revolved around safety first and foremost.

“So what we deal with from a technical and expert level is what is safe,” said Stanzione. “What is fair may not be safe, so we have to be aware of that.”

“I am just really looking for an understanding of who our airport serves,” said Van Scoyoc. “Does it serve residents or people who come from out of town. And I am not just talking about helicopter traffic, I am talking about jets.”