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Jan 20, 2015 4:51 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Airport Noise Subcommittee Recommends Curfews, Complete Ban On Noisiest Helicopters

Jan 20, 2015 4:51 PM

The East Hampton Town Board should ban some helicopters completely and limit hours of operation at the town-owned airport for certain other types of aircraft in a bid to reduce noise complaints, a subcommittee concluded on Tuesday.

At its work session, the Town Board heard the final recommendations of the East Hampton Airport’s Noise Subcommittee on the best ways to combat airport noise, which has prompted complaints from residents for years.

David Gruber, the chair of the subcommittee, proposed that the Town Board enact curfews to cut down on traffic and noise and ban only what the committee calls the “noisiest” types of aircraft.

“The professional noise analysis identified three acute problems: first, operations in the evening, night and early morning; second, high-frequency options, particularly on summer weekends and holidays, by the noisiest types that turn out to be chiefly commercial aircraft, not recreational aircraft; and, third, helicopter operations,” Mr. Gruber said.

The recommendations suggest that the town rate aircraft on their noise levels and place them in three categories: “noisiest,” “noisy” and “quiet.” Based on those ratings, the subcommittee recommended that the town ban the noisiest types of aircraft from taking off or landing at the airport between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. every day, and ban noisy types from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day.

The subcommittee also suggested limiting the noisiest aircraft to no more than two operations—one arrival and one departure—any day during the week. It called for an outright ban on helicopters that are classified as “noisiest.”

Under the committee’s recommendations, helicopters that are deemed “noisy” would not be permitted to fly between noon each Thursday and noon the following Monday, or on federal holidays, or on one day preceding and following holidays. They would also not be allowed to operate more than twice during any week.

During the summer season, touch-and-go operations for pilot training would not be allowed from noon each Thursday until noon the following Monday, and they would be banned from taking place on federal holidays, and the day before and after those days.

The idea is to curb commercial air traffic and the noise that stems from it, according to the Quiet Skies Coalition, which has members on the Noise Subcommittee.

“Local aviators have never been the problem,” said Pat Trunzo, a former town councilman and Quiet Skies Coalition and subcommittee member. “Noise complaint data coupled with the proposed noise emissions categorization support that.”

Mr. Gruber said the recommendations will “achieve immediate, substantial noise relief for residents, allow sufficient traffic to maintain a financially self-sustaining airport, provide an incentive for airport users with noisiest types of aircraft to transition to quiet types in order to avoid restrictions, and to affect, only very lightly, recreational aviation.”

Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokesman for the Friends of the East Hampton Airport, said the group is convinced the subcommittee is aiming to close the airport entirely rather than just reducing its traffic.

“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,” he said. “Rather than trying to close the airport, we should be working together to find commonsense solutions that protect our community’s access to aviation and the economic benefits that the airport provides.”

Supervisor Larry Cantwell said on Tuesday afternoon that the Town Board will consider the subcommittee’s recommendation as it works to set restrictions this spring. “The board is still gathering input from different interested parties, and the Phase III noise analysis will be presented on February 3,” he said. “At that point, the board will be in a position to make the town’s proposal. Certainly, we appreciate input from the Noise Subcommittee. It’s a part of the record being established for the board to propose a townwide proposal.”

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Finally a sensible dialogue on noise pollution. Well done E.H.
By Slightmadness (19), East hampton on Jan 21, 15 8:23 AM
There needs to be an actual dialogue - meaning input from both sides. So far that Town has abjectly refused to allow anyone from the aviation community (I mean local pilots, not commercial ventures) to participate in the discussion. It has been nothing but a monologue by the anti-airport groups. The helicopter restrictions are not unreasonable. However the prohibition against flight training in little C152 and C172 single prop planes, which the noise analysis confirmed is not disturbing anyone, ...more
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Jan 22, 15 3:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
I suggest you build Town houses on the property
By H B. (1), Hampton Bays on Jan 21, 15 11:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
Please please please make BLADE go away. I cannot understand how anyone local can defend this evil UBEResque app which singlehandedly destroyed the quality of life of so many in one summer season.
By bridgewoodsmom (14), bridgehampton on Jan 21, 15 5:02 PM
Loren Riegelhaupt comments are mute as we did just fine without them for years and will continue. The Airport is sustainable without fed money. Those who own homes or wish to visit their friends will still come. By car like the rest of us.

Remember, the helicopter operators had the ability to police themselves but did not. Smith just kept up his verbal attacks instead of educating his members of the helicopter council. they did it to themselves so now its time fore regulation. Also remember ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Jan 22, 15 6:54 AM
2 members liked this comment
“The Airport is sustainable without fed money” Well, apparently NOT! According to the Budget and Finance Committee appointed by the TOWN!! Why on earth would anyone think cutting down on traffic would support such a seasonal airport or a seasonal economy? A restriction of any kind would be the end of the East End as we know it…..
By kevinlocal (47), wainscott on Mar 10, 15 10:46 PM
Public input will be necessary to support the recommendations of the subcommittee. Some EH board members may not be convinced that thousands have suffered endlessly with this barrage of noise. Once a public hearing date has been announced, it is certain that all in favor of these restrictons must speak their piece one last time--or risk once again this year to be deafened by the handful of aviation operators making money hand over fist ferrying commuters to and from NYC and regional other airports. ...more
By Trish (91), Sag Harbor on Jan 22, 15 10:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
Actually the real statistics clearly showed that the vast majority of complaints came from only about 30 people, not thousands, including one who called the hotline more than 2800 times last year alone (that's 8 times a day every day). I'm pretty sure you are one of those 30 people. I'm also pretty sure you make your living doing something related to real estate and property investment/development, just like the rest of your group who can't stop drooling over the 660 acres of land you want to ...more
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Jan 22, 15 3:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just remember that many of the thousands of us who did not call did not do so because a we did not know the number, there was no response on the other, and pretty much the exercise seemed pretty futile due to the lack of response to the complaining. The airport was just fine when it was used mostly locally. When the helicopters started arriving in droves is when it really became an issue. The only viable solution to keep it active is to close it down to the commercial uses its been allowed to deteriorate ...more
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Jan 22, 15 4:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
Talk about pot calling the kettle black. ALL 49 Of YOUR posts here are "pro airport noise. ". I called once. I also received emails from BLADE asking me ( and anyone else who owns their app) to complain IN FAVOR OF airport noise. How much are THEY paying YOU.
By bridgewoodsmom (14), bridgehampton on Jan 24, 15 7:08 PM
recommendations of the subcommittee, or do you mean the recommendations of David Gruber?
By kevinlocal (47), wainscott on Mar 10, 15 10:47 PM