East Hampton Airport may soon be converted from public to private use with the goal of enacting new rules regulating aircraft that use the facility, Town of East Hampton officials say.
The transition will allow the town, which owns the 600-acre airport in Wainscott, to address complaints about aircraft noise, the number of flights and environmental impacts, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said on January 4 during his 2022 state of the town address.
“Our intention is to move to a Prior Permission Required (PPR) model for our airport, which we believe will give the town the most flexibility in crafting restrictions that balance the needs of the entire community,” he said. “We expect to begin the transition this winter, so that these new restrictions will be in place for the upcoming summer season.”
The airport’s Federal Aviation Administration grant assurances expired in September, lifting limits on the town’s ability to potentially close the airport or issue new rules. Business leaders want it to remain open, environmentalists want it closed and the town — which was previously prohibited by a federal court ruling from a prior attempt at enacting limits on aircraft at the airport — has conducted studies and held a series of hearings on the issue.
Erin King-Sweeny, executive director of the pro-airport East Hampton Community Alliance, cautioned against the move.
“The East Hampton Community Alliance remains committed to working with the town and the aviation community to develop workable solutions to keeping open HTO,” she said. “We remain opposed to any airport closure, even a so-called ‘temporary closure’ due to the many risks inherent in such a move.”