At the Thursday night East Hampton Town Board meeting held at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, the proposed FAA financial help in fixing/constructing a perimeter safety fence mushroomed into an airport noise control and jurisdiction issue. Board member Dominick Stanzione lead the discussion that included more than 40 speakers—some of whom were local pilots—who spoke for and against various issues regarding airport noise.
“No one wants to close the airport,” Judy Lynn-McDowell, an owner of two homes in the vicinity of the airport, said after the meeting. “It has always been part of the fabric of our community.”
There is no problem with the local pilots or businesses that use the airport, nor with the people who work there. Certainly everyone wants the airport to be well maintained and safe for all. The issue so many complain about is the frequent landing of helicopters and private jets, which fly at odd hours of the day and cause a great deal of noise for the homes in their flight path. According to homeowners, the flights are so frequent that there is no relief from the cacophony and they sometimes feel forced to leave their own homes.
“Our quality of life is severely impacted by this and these are not local people, they are not part of the fabric of our community,” said Lynn-McDowell. “Perhaps they go to restaurants but more likely they stay in at their big share house and party. Our house on Merchant’s Path is in a direct line with the landing strip. We cannot sit outside with guests on a summer night due to the constant air traffic, the deafening noise and the smell of jet fuel. Trying to sleep is impossible, even with windows closed and the A/C on.
“Expanding the airport will only exacerbate the expanding problem…the town needs to have definite limits, curfews and higher landing fees, no one should be landing after the airport is closed. The share jets should be limited to scheduled flights just a few per day.”