East Hampton Town to Institute Airport Restrictions Before Summer

Helicopter shadow
Ron Chapple studios/Hemera/Thinkstock

As of January 1, 2015, the East Hampton Airport will no longer be subject to a number of Federal Aviation Administration mandates, and the East Hampton Town Board is now looking forward to instituting restrictions aimed at reducing noise.

When the four FAA mandates are lifted, the town board will have greater flexibility for local control of the airport, East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said Monday. “Any restrictions must be reasonable, non-arbitratry and non-dicriminatory,” he noted.

Helicopters are the subject of most noise complaints, while seaplanes and some jets have also led to complaints. In just one year, the town’s airport noise hotline received about 25,000 complaints, Cantwell said, adding that it is more complaints than O’Hare in Chicago receives annually.

Cantwell said the town board is awaiting the completion of the third phase of its airport noise study, part of the board’s evaluation of the problem and the possible consequnces of restrictions.

Such restrictions could include curfews and take-off and landing prohibitions by time of day, day of week and time of year, the supervisor explained.

“The town’s goal here is to put forth a proposal by early February,” he said.

The FAA mandates are “grant assurances,” that is, agreements the town made when it accepted grant money. Under a settlement, four grant assurances will expire at the end of this year, while others will remain intact until 2022.

“Regardless of whether grant assurances exist at the airport, there are still legal standards that the town must meet with respect to any restrictions that the town considers,” Cantwell said.

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