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Sep 18, 2012 6:06 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Local Lawmakers Meet To Discuss Helicopter Noise; East Hampton Officials Absent

Sep 18, 2012 6:49 PM

A meeting of the minds among lawmakers, community leaders and representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration to discuss ways to limit the noise from helicopters flying over Southampton Town houses to and from East Hampton Airport took place at Southampton Town Hall on Monday.

But absent from the dialogue was anyone from East Hampton Town, which owns the airport.

Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who takes the lead on airport issues, and Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, were both invited to the meeting, but said they could not attend because of scheduling conflicts.

Mr. Stanzione also said that there would be another chance to hammer out the issues when the Multi-Town Helicopter Noise Advisory Committee, comprised of elected officials from the five East End towns, meets next Monday at 11 a.m. at Brookhaven Town Hall. FAA officials will attend that meeting, but it will be closed to the general public and the press, he said.

Mr. Stanzione said he had apologized to Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who organized the gathering, for being unable to attend.

“It was Rosh Hashana,” he said. “A lot of family conflicts. I understood that she was trying to put the meeting together, but there was no way I was going to make that meeting.”

Mr. Wilkinson said his son, Jamie Wilkinson, was visiting from Florida, and so he could not attend on Monday. Both he and Mr. Stanzione said Ms. Throne-Holst originally scheduled the meeting for September 10, a date they could make, but that she then had to reschedule it.

Members of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council were also invited but did not attend, according to Janice Wilson, the executive assistant to Ms. Throne-Holst. “We had put the meeting together, figuring that people would be there, and …it kind of fell apart over the weekend,” she said.

Kathleen Cunningham, the chairwoman of the Quiet Skies Coalition, who did attend, said “It was as productive of a meeting as it could be without the one big player in the room.”

Among those who took part were U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, representatives of both Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera, a representative from State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle’s office, representatives of the FAA and community members.

Among the issues discussed were “flight curfews, restricting numbers of fixed-wing and helicopter take-offs and arrivals, altitude guidelines as well as clarification on the parameters of FAA grant assurances on the part of East Hampton Airport and town,” according to a 
statement from Ms. Throne-Holst’s office. The group is also requesting flight data from the airport and plans to present “a multi-pronged proposal” next week.

“This was a productive first step toward achieving measurable relief for our many residents affected by East Hampton Airport activity,” said Ms. Throne-Holst in the statement. “It is my hope that all pertinent stakeholders will come to the table on September 24 with the shared and proactive goal of establishing meaningful guidelines for traffic in and out of the airport and real improvement in the quality of life for the many affected households.”

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