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Story - News

Feb 1, 2012 1:50 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Schumer Announces New Helicopter Routes In Works

Feb 7, 2012 5:28 PM

New federal regulations establishing over-the-water routes along Long Island’s north and south shores in an attempt to reduce helicopter noise have generated mixed reaction from East End residents and policy makers.

United States Senator Charles Schumer announced last Wednesday that regulations are in the process of being finalized by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that will mandate an over-the-water North Shore helicopter route. Also, for the first time, the Federal Aviation Administration will begin the process of establishing mandatory off-shore water routes for the South Shore, according to a press release.

Mr. LaHood’s commitment to implement the dual off-shore routes should serve as a “wake-up call” to the helicopter industry, Mr. Schumer said.

“Long Island will not continue to be the Wild West for low flying, disruptive and noisy helicopters.”

The flight path changes come after years of efforts by East End leaders who teamed up to tackle the problem by taking a regional approach. Members of the Multi-Town Helicopter Noise Advisory Committee, comprised of East End elected officials and others, maintain that a single northern helicopter route would place an unfair burden on a few communities and have asked for a southern route as well. The new routes would most directly affect East Hampton Airport.

“I have been a major proponent of having not just a northern but a southern route,” said East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who has served as the point person for airport issues in the town. “Having both is an excellent outcome. We look forward to the finalization of those routes by the FAA.”

U.S. Representative Tim Bishop also applauded Mr. Schumer’s work on the issue. “I will continue to work with Senator Schumer to make sure the regulations that result from the process announced today provide relief to property owners and route helicopter traffic in a way acceptable to all stakeholders,” he said in a statement.

While some elected officials lauded the senator’s efforts, others said the measure wouldn’t actually do much to silence helicopter noise. Frank Dalene, the vice chairman of the East Hampton advocacy group, the Quiet Skies Coalition, and a neighbor to the airport, said the new routes will only spread the burden around the region more fairly, adding that helicopter noise can be reduced only by technological improvements.

“So now you’re going to have this summer, you’re going to have a new group of people complaining,” he said. “And now those are going to be the folks south of the highway. Now I say good, because it’s the folks south of the highway that use these helicopters, that own these helicopters.”

The Quiet Skies Coalition has been at the center of the noise pollution debate at East Hampton Airport. Most recently, the group unsuccessfully lobbied the town to stop accepting FAA funds for capital improvements at the airport, saying the grants come with contractual obligations that prevent the town from regulating aircraft traffic and noise. The Town Board voted to accept the grants in December.

Kathy Cunningham, the new chairwoman of the group, issued a statement this week blasting the new routes, claiming that they would increase the number of flights over northwest East Hampton.

“Such re-concentrations of traffic will only increase the misery of helicopter noise impacts north and south in East Hampton,” she said. “The Quiet Skies Coalition finds that the only solution is for the town to exercise its proprietary rights to restrict jet, helicopter and seaplane landings and take-offs in a reasonable and comprehensive planning program.”

Ms. Cunningham also aired her concerns to the East Hampton Town Board last Thursday.

“This is a great deal for western Suffolk and Nassau, because those vehicles are going 
to be out on the ocean and over the Long Island Sound,” she 
said. “But it’s not a good deal for us.”

Mr. Stanzione countered that the new routes are actually “good news for Long Island and East Hampton,” when combined with an air traffic control tower the town is looking to install at the airport.

“We combine the two actions—FAA approval of the control tower together with the mandated routes from the south and the north—[and] we believe that we will have effective local control over air transportation, at least during peak season,” Mr. Stanzione said.

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Thanks for nothing Tim.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Feb 1, 12 6:27 PM
Man, I hope this winds up being what we all hope it is. Fingers crossed.
By HarborDad (37), Sag Harbor on Feb 1, 12 8:21 PM
Tim Bishop is useless.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Feb 1, 12 8:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
I guess Pelosi doesnt care about the noise in the Hamptons. She seems to be the only one who can get him to act on anything
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Feb 2, 12 11:17 AM
WOW, great news after years and years of East End residents suffering the aerial ATTACKS from these monstrous killer bees (carrying the Rich and Famous) invading OUR air space greedily for PROFIT!

All while most politicians, until recently, cowered and hunkered down low in the trenches, to see how the battle played out, until they picked a side.

Oh wait, is this an election year?

PS -- Funny , notice the similarity of "cowered" and coward?"
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 1, 12 9:15 PM
This is not a solution to the obnoxious noise caused by helicopters, jets and seaplanes going over my home headed to East Hampton. No matter what route they take, THEY STILL HAVE TO LAND, and with that comes exactly the same horrible noise problem we have been long suffering with !!!!! Eliminating all "for profit" air services using the small EH Airport is the only way to restore the peace and tranquility we once had. I feel we've been sold out by the politicians who still won't touch ...more
By SagHarborBob (91), Life is Good in Sag Harbor on Feb 2, 12 6:43 AM
Are you suggesting that "for profit" jets are too noisy, but the same aircraft, when used privately, are not? Why not just petition to have the airport shut down? Wait a minute....was the airport there before you bought your house? If so, than I feel no sympathy for you, bob, as you knew that air traffic was not only a possibility but nearly a certainty. Frankly this issue is a waste of time, used by our fearless leaders in government to distract us from the real concerns we should be discussing.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Feb 3, 12 5:29 AM
The year I bought my house was the same year that Apple computer was formed. Yes, 31 years ago was the date The airport back then was a tiny rural place, not he Metro airport it has been allowed to morph into. And of course back them no one gave it a thought that it would grow to have almost as many Summer daily air events as Islip airport. I am as local as you, love it here, and my guess is your aren't burdened by the obnoxious noise levels that we are. So to me, it is a real concern. Try ...more
By SagHarborBob (91), Life is Good in Sag Harbor on Feb 3, 12 6:56 AM
The whole town is bigger, not just the airport. Banning everything 'for profit' in the whole town won't reverse the development that has taken place here. As a matter of fact, HTO doesn't have close to the traffic that ISP has, no matter what time of year. An airport is an airport, 31 years ago, or now. Noisy, and neighbors will find the land/nearby to be cheaper than elsewhere, which is why they bought it in many cases.
By M. O'Connor (147), Southampton on Feb 3, 12 10:31 AM
Bob, I live right near the railroad tracks, but I'm not gonna b***h and moan about the noise because the tracks were there when I moved in. Now, if the LIRR upped its service to every 30 min, I wouldn't like it, but I also understand that that is none of my decision, it is a risk I took for the property...just like you and yours. Do you think I should get the LIRR to stop service because it's annoyiong to me?
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Feb 4, 12 1:43 AM
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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By lucy2 (63), Southampton, NY on Feb 2, 12 7:17 AM
Nothing better than barbecuing in the back yard feeling like they are filming Apocalypse 3 over my head!
By Talbot77 (53), southampton on Feb 2, 12 8:53 AM
So Chuck is saying that the buzzards are going to fly along the shoreline? So all the beach-goers and homeowners along the North and Shores will be disturbed? Will they have to fly out at sea? Still, the communities that will continue to be affected are those at the landing path locations? The more things change, the more they are the same. Why not ban commercial helicopter flights and only allow private permit only flying?
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Feb 2, 12 11:33 AM
Again I must ask, how is it that an aircraft is not distracting unless it comes with a private permit? The same aircraft make the same noise regardless of the owner. Just because one plane has a private captain, stewardess, caviar and champagne, doesnt make it any more quiet than the red eye flight with middle class commuters, does it? Of course we could just not allow anyone but the 1% to fly, as per your suggestion.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Feb 3, 12 5:33 AM
Following your logic, why not ban cars that pollute and install mass transit? Why not ban commerical busses and allow only private transportation by permit ? Why not ban commericial fishing and allow only private fishing by permit? So much for democracy.
By ILOONI (13), CUTCHOGUE on Feb 2, 12 1:03 PM
Its about time
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Feb 2, 12 1:19 PM
Ill believe when I CANT hear it. North Sea and Noyac get hammered on Friday afternoons thorugh Monday Mornings. Until then log in your complaints and now we should email Schumer so he knows when they DONT follow the plan. 537-loud
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Feb 2, 12 2:26 PM
By scratchem (2), Southampton on Feb 3, 12 6:52 AM
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By harbor (415), East Hampton on Feb 3, 12 2:28 PM
Funny, I think I've noticed them once in the past few years... Oh wait, that's because I'm at work all day long. Perhaps you retired folks should find some non-bustling, non-anything, upstate NY area to retire, instead of the popular retreat the east end has been, ever since they invented the automobile... Reference Leisurama, then remind yourself that you live (2) hours from the 20th largest city in the world... On what has been rated as one of the top 20 beaches in the world. The more the merrier, ...more
By The Royal 'We' (199), Southampton on Feb 7, 12 9:29 AM
Royal we- I am nowhere near retirement age, and my wife and I work very hard all week long. Every weekend from memorial day to labor day all we hear is a constant stream of helicopters, some flying so low it seems like we are being invaded. It's not too much to ask to have them spend a few extra minutes flying time taking a more circuitous route to the airport over the water. My apologies that you have to work all weekend.
By bubby (236), southampton on Feb 12, 12 7:35 PM