The Scoop

Judge Upholds East Hampton Airport Noise Restrictions

A federal court ruled Friday in favor of East Hampton Town’s right to restrict flights to and from the municipal airport in order to address helicopter and other aircraft noise.

The East Hampton Town Board in April adopted four laws to provide relief to residents affected by noise. Three of the laws were challenged by members of the aviation industry and other opponents of the laws, and the town delayed enforcement pending a court decision.

In a 45-page order, Federal District Court Judge Joanna Seybert determined the town may enforce two of the the laws:  a mandatory nighttime curfew, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and an extended curfew on noisy aircraft, from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. Seybert has, however, temporarily enjoined a third law that restricts certain noisy aircraft to just one trip to the East Hampton Airport per week.

Seybert noted, “It cannot be argued that the Town lacked the data to support a finding of a noise problem at the Airport.”

Enforcement is slated to begin Thursday, July 2.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said, “We’re pleased the judge has acknowledged that the town was justified in adopting restrictions to provide relief to the growing number of people who are negatively affected by aircraft noise. Although we regret that one of the key laws cannot be enforced for the time being, we are gratified that the court recognized that the law allows the kind of restrictions that are essential to protect the residents of this town.”

Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez added, “The court’s decision today is an important first step, but we must recognize that our opponents are well funded and will not give up easily.”

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