East Hampton Can Use Airport Fees to Pay Lawsuit Costs

T. E. McMorrow

The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled that the Town of East Hampton may continue to pay legal fees from a federal lawsuit brought by members of the aviation industry with fees it collects from the airport.

The lawsuit was brought in 2015, after the town passed a law that imposed a year-round curfew for flights in and out of the airport between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. That law also banned noisier aircraft from flying at night and limited the total number of trips such aircraft could make during the season.

In late 2016, the town’s regulations covering aviation were struck down in a Federal Appeals Court, a ruling that the U.S. Supreme Court let stand.

On July 23 the FAA rejected an appeal of an earlier ruling by the agency.

Winsome Ledfert, the deputy associate administrator for airports wrote the decision. Ledfert noted that “The Second Circuit ultimately faulted the town for not ‘complying with procedures’ and held that the town laws were preempted.”

She agreed with the initial determination of the FAA “that the town can lawfully use airport revenue to pay its legal fees associated with the defense of its airport noise restrictions.”

The losing side has 60 days to file an appeal of the decision with the United States Court of Appeals.

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