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Aug 21, 2012 12:34 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Helicopter Route Gives Rise To Rally

Aug 21, 2012 6:03 PM

Groups of frustrated residents from both East Hampton and Southampton towns sprung into action last week, opposing a route that takes noisy helicopters over portions of Southampton Town to and from East Hampton Airport.

An estimated 70 to 90 people crammed into the Noyac Schoolhouse on August 15 to sound off about a noise situation that has plagued residents in parts of Noyac, North Sea, Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor. The new route—which is actually an old route East Hampton Airport officials revived from years ago—has recently directed the noisy traffic over Jessup’s Neck and the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge in Noyac, instead of over Northwest Woods in East Hampton, where they used to fly until sometime last month.

On Sunday, members of the Quiet Skies Coalition, an East Hampton anti-noise group, rallied at the airport to protest 
the new route. Kathleen Cunningham, the executive director of the group, said just 
under 50 residents participated—many of whom hailed from Southampton Town, and from the group that met 
in Noyac last week.

On Tuesday, anti-noise activists announced that U.S. Representative Tim Bishop would attend a public meeting to discuss helicopter noise, at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Bridgehampton Community Center on the Bridgehampton Turnpike. Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera is also expected to attend, as are other public officials, according to a press release issued by the group.

The newly formed Southampton group has yet to come up with an official name, according to Barry Holden of Noyac, who organized last week’s meeting. But within just a week, the group was able to amass hundreds of signatures on an online petition opposing the new route, he said. As of Monday afternoon, the petition had 268 signatures.

“We are furious not only at East Hampton Airport and East Hampton Town, we are very upset with how we are being treated by the Southampton Town Board,” said Mr. Holden. “…The fact is that very few people are making a lot of noise for other people—it’s ruining our lives. It’s ruining our property values.”

The group’s mission is to draw attention to the issue and hold elected officials accountable for their actions and nonactions, said Connie Steensma, of Noyac.

“We hope to get attention,” she said. “We hope to find out why our officials, our elected officials, aren’t standing up for us … We’re trying to bring attention to it now because the Federal Aviation Administration is apparently going to make a decision in the near future about where the flight paths will be. We have to say that this is not right.”

Besides protesting the new route, members of the Quiet Skies Coalition raised safety concerns about airport traffic.

“It just doesn’t make sense to have traffic coming and going out over the same route,” Ms. Cunningham said. “It just does not make any sense.”

Town Board members from both towns attended last week’s meeting in Noyac. Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming and East Hampton Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley were both present. Ms. Quigley, who said she was “glad to be there,” said she felt the purpose of the meeting was to organize a group to speak with one strong voice on the issue.

“I personally feel that as though we, the town, should not have changed the route without the input of the East Hampton community or the Southampton community,” she said.

Recently, Ms. Quigley and East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson have blasted East Hampton Councilman Dominick Stanzione over the route change, accusing him of unilaterally deciding to change it without consulting the rest of the board. Mr. Stanzione has rejected those claims, saying he had “no authority to make that change.”

“The town has no authority to control air space,” he said. “Safety and efficient operations are the purview of the air traffic control tower and the users of the airport. So aircraft using the airport have to execute agreements with the control tower. Those agreements don’t have a place for the town to sign on.”

In July, 114 different households outside of East Hampton Town filed nearly 1,500 complaints with an airport noise hotline, according to information generated by PlaneNoise, a company paid by East Hampton Town to synthesize that data. Of those complaints, there were 10 individuals who accounted for the vast majority of them. The highest number coming from an individual in Sag Harbor, who logged 551, or 36.8 percent of the total monthly complaints, the company has reported.

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Im sorry but when you bought your house, did you not put into concideration about the noise. The world is not a quite place sorry.
By Unkown Local (18), southampton on Aug 21, 12 2:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
When I bought my house, which by the way is in noyac and no where near the airport, I didn't have 50 helicopters flying over me every weekend.
By bubby (236), southampton on Aug 21, 12 3:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
And your property value was peanuts compared to what it is now. Things change, and you have to take the good with the bad. What is the solution you propose? Helicopters that land @ EH Airport have to fly over SOMEONE's house
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 21, 12 4:07 PM
You don't understand the issue. People did not buy their homes near the airport...routes have been changed and many full time residents who live here are being subjected to helicopter, seaplanes, jets, and other aircraft assaults. The problem has become intolerable. Air traffic patterns were changed three years ago and the residents are under siege. Many of us live in areas with preserve surrounding us...and we paid for that peace and quiet.
By mcgrawkeber (47), East Hampton on Aug 21, 12 5:22 PM
3 members liked this comment
The same is true of our home which we built thirty years ago in East Hampton's Northwest.
By mcgrawkeber (47), East Hampton on Aug 21, 12 5:23 PM
They don't have to fly over anyone's house...they can come in from the southern route over the water...they are a new addition to the airport and are primarily used by the wealthy who taxi to and from their destination for a hefty sum. The same is true of private jets, large and small.
By mcgrawkeber (47), East Hampton on Aug 21, 12 5:24 PM
They actually don't have to fly over my house. They are supposed to fly over the water 1/2 mile to my north, but to save time they alter their route. And they fly way too low. Here's my solution. Fly over the water and fly higher. Boy, that was simple right? And my property value has nothing to do with it.
By bubby (236), southampton on Aug 21, 12 5:29 PM
So they can flow over someone else's backyard... just not yours, right?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 21, 12 9:17 PM
Are you illiterate or do you only choose to read what you want to see? You have to argue with everything. Read my post very carefully. Here, I'll put it in capitals for you. THEY CAN FLY OVER THE WATER JUST NORTH OF MY HOUSE. Then they aren't flying over anyone's house. I'm sure you'll report this post as inappropriate but I don't care anymore. Half the people on these boards comment only to argue with people and it's really time to get a life.
By bubby (236), southampton on Aug 22, 12 7:35 AM
2 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bubby (236), southampton on Aug 22, 12 7:35 AM
I'm not illiterate and I find it interesting that you feel that I'm on here soley to be argumentitive but you choose to use insults and utilize name calling to get your point across.

I'm not saying these comments to be argumentitive - my point is that whining on boards about not liking how you are impacted accomplishes nothing. Offering solutions/alternatives is constructive. Your solution of "flying over the water north of your house" doesn't solve the problem. Helicopters still need ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 22, 12 9:08 AM
Nature, flying over the water does solve the problem for a huge portion of the community. All of Noyac/Sag Harbor is then not subjected to the helicopter noise. do the helicopters have to fly over Someone's house to get to the airport? Sure. But those are the people that you should be telling that they should have k own what they were buying when the bought near an airport. I am miles and miles away from the airport. There was no way 15 years ago I could have foreseen having 50 helicopters ...more
By bubby (236), southampton on Aug 22, 12 10:08 AM
That's a very ignorant thing to say. Not everyone with a noise problem lives near the airport. Let's be nice, ok.
By marybmary (53), east hampton on Aug 21, 12 3:10 PM
2 members liked this comment
You are absolutely right...not everyone who has aircraft noise assaults lives by the airport. It is the flight pattern that has changed and more aircraft, not less, is impacting more people. Fewer people use the airport than are being impacted by it. That is grossly unfair to the majority of residents who are plagued.
By mcgrawkeber (47), East Hampton on Aug 21, 12 5:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
@Unknown local. The problem is that the pilots are flying far too low than what they are legally authorized too coming in over communities that are far from the airport. Likewise, when most people bought their properties there was not as much air traffic then as there is now. Not to mention that this probably not disclosed neither by sellers or brokers that there is a noise problem. Don't even know if they have to disclose that. So they had no way of knowing. It would be nice If Suffolk county, ...more
By V.Tomanoku (694), southampton on Aug 21, 12 3:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
More and more planes and more noise are just part of the future-get used to it. The rich will have there way.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Aug 21, 12 4:22 PM
Helicopters give the whole airport a bad rap, but they have nothing to do with the runways or expansion. There is no reason helicopters have to fly low enough to cause annoyance--they are HELICOPTERS and can go up AND down right over the airport. I can hear three of them right now as I type this, though they are in the distance.
By M. O'Connor (147), Southampton on Aug 21, 12 5:17 PM
People who are being plagued by airport noise pollution did not buy their homes near the airport...routes have been changed and many full time residents who live here are being subjected to helicopter, seaplanes, jets, and other aircraft assaults. The problem has become intolerable. Air traffic patterns were changed three years ago and the residents are under siege. Many of us live in areas with preserve surrounding us...and we paid for that peace and quiet. 1% of the population is being serviced ...more
By mcgrawkeber (47), East Hampton on Aug 21, 12 8:03 PM
What's your solution to the 1%ers?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 21, 12 9:18 PM
Once again East Enders fighting the reality of progress and the 21st century. For two months, this area is the playground of wealthy New Yorkers. It is what it is. You can deal with it for 2 months or move, but we all make money off of these folks in some way or another. It is a quiet place for ten months. If you want something else, you should move.
By louse pt. (143), springs on Aug 22, 12 7:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
Flying over the peoples "homes" who own/are able to own helicopters or travel to the East End in them seems to make more sense than flying over the homes of people who never would...
By Mr. Z (11022), North Sea on Aug 22, 12 7:30 PM
Z - how shall we make the distinction between the "have's" and "have-nots"?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Aug 23, 12 2:21 PM
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