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Feb 14, 2017 4:50 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Group Urges East Hampton Town To Buy Montauk Airport To Head Off Headaches

The Montauk Airport. KYRIL BROMLEY
Feb 14, 2017 4:56 PM

A group of airport hawks are urging East Hampton Town to purchase the Montauk Airport property in hopes of keeping a lid on the growth of airport traffic there in the coming decades.

The group, which calls itself the Airport Noise Citizens Advisory Committee, penned a letter to the town in December recommending, among other things, that the Montauk Airport be targeted for acquisition by the town.

The group’s chairman, David Gruber, a vocal critic of East Hampton Airport’s scale of operations, said that if the town doesn’t buy the Montauk Airport, residents in the easternmost hamlet could someday face the same thunderous rumble of helicopters and large jets that Wainscott, Noyac and North Fork residents now endure on summer weekends.

“The town is a bystander here and it seems to us that before anything turns worse we would want to get control of how it’s handled in the future,” Mr. Gruber said this week. “Ultimately, they would be able to exercise the same control over Montauk that they do over East Hampton [Airport]—whatever the scope of that may be, that’s being litigated.”

While the town’s ability to impose any sort of limits on aircraft traffic at East Hampton Airport hinges on the possibly thin hope that the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review whether curfews imposed in 2015 are allowable, the group makes the case that if the town owned the Montauk strip as well it at least could assure that more grants from the FAA are not accepted there, as the town has pledged to avoid at its own property.

“It is possible that a private owner could apply for FAA funding, and would then be tied to grant assurances for 20 years,” Mr. Gruber warned. “We know there is already growing demand in Montauk.”

Mr. Gruber suggested the town could potentially buy the property with Community Preservation Fund money, viewing the airport as a “recreational facility.”

Several charter flight operations started running weekend flights to Montauk from New York City in 2015 and 2016, though most landed seaplanes near Navy Beach in Fort Pond Bay rather than at the Montauk Airport.

Supervisor Larry Cantwell said the town was unlikely to be interested in owning and operating a second airport and he doubted that the town could purchase the airport using CPF money if it is to remain as an functioning airport.

“This would put the town in the same situation it is in at East Hampton Airport, which I don’t think the town is going to spend whatever it would cost to buy, to take that on,” Mr. Cantwell said. “Ultimately, the only option might be to close it at some point. I don’t think buying it, borrowing however many millions of dollars, with that in mind makes a lot of sense.”

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Proves Gruber's commitment to lies and deception.
NO POSSIBLE way Montauk airport could be used for jets.
NO way those taking helicopters to HTO are going to take them to Montauk and take 45 minutes or more to get back to East Hampton and Southampton.
You have to admit. DG is persistent in making it appear that a handful of people represent most of the Town to induce it to close the airport so he and his cronies can develop the site. See him lecturing the Town Board in 2001, long before ...more
By DasK (26), on Feb 15, 17 5:52 PM
No no no! Please do not consider this. Somehow we will end up mired in litigation and spend millions more than we are told. And to use CPF funds for the acquisition is ridiculous when there are much better and more impactful uses for this kind of money.

That being said, I am quite doubtful that this will remain an airport long-term. Sadly, the highest value use of the property is to subdivide it for McMansions...
By ads02129 (9), Charlestown on Feb 15, 17 7:52 PM
to Dask:

First, the 400 residents who appeared at the August 27, 2014 East Hampton Town Board meeting in opposition to the continued, unrestricted operation of the East Hampton airport put the lie to your implication that only a "handful" of people are opposed to it.*

Second, if the litigation finally concludes with the expected ruling that the town CANNOT restrict operations, it would seem that the only alternative is to close the airport entirely. The majority of residents would ...more
By highhatsize (3094), East Quogue on Feb 15, 17 8:31 PM
Some people have nothing to do. Great air field to service the END. Leave it as it is. Too small for 747's and corporate aircraft, just a small air field like Bayport Aerodrome.
By knitter (564), Southampton on Feb 16, 17 8:50 AM
Do they sell aviation fuel there? I find it works much better than the gasohol for some of my engines.
By dfree (159), hampton bays on Feb 20, 17 5:10 PM
Hamptons Kirtan, Brenda McMorrow, John de Kadt