East Hampton Town has agreed to put off enforcing its new restrictions on planes and helicopters at East Hampton Airport for another three weeks after a federal judge said that she needed more time before she could issue a ruling on them.
U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert on Wednesday, June 3, told attorneys for the town and the aviation group that has requested an injunction against the restrictions, which were adopted by the East Hampton Town Board in April, that she was going to extend her self-imposed deadline for a ruling on the injunction to June 26. Judge Seybert, who had been expected to issue a ruling on Monday, said she needed more time to consider the complex factors at play in the case.
In a statement last week by their attorney, Peter Kirsch, town officials said they would honor the judge’s request and continue to leave the new restrictions, which limit the time certain aircraft may use the airport, unenforced.
“The town remains confident that it will prevail in the litigation,” the statement from Mr. Kirsch reads. “However, out of respect for the judicial process, the town has agreed to continue to not enforce the local laws pending the court’s decision.”
The new rules for the airport were adopted on April 16. Four days later, an aviation business advocacy group, the Friends of the East Hampton Airport, filed a federal lawsuit against the town seeking to nullify the new restrictions.
The group requested an injunction against the rules being enforced until the lawsuit was adjudicated and asked for an immediate temporary restraining order on the rules. Judge Seybert asked that the town simply refrain from enforcing the new restrictions until she could consider whether an injunction was warranted, and the town agreed.
The regulations implement a curfew banning all flights between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., year-round. Aircraft classified as “noisy” would not be permitted to take off or land between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m., year-round, and those aircraft classified as “noisy” would also be restricted to only one takeoff and landing per week between May and September. These rules would mainly affect helicopter and older jets.
Were Judge Seybert to rule that the injunction is warranted, the rules likely would be put on the shelf a year or more while the case is argued in court. The town had planned to enforce them for the first time this summer.