East Hampton Airport released its data on noise complaints for 2013 on Monday, citing 63 households in East Hampton Town that filed at least one complaint during the year.
But the top 10 complainants in East Hampton filed about 90 percent of the total complaints—a grand total of 2,025, according to findings by the airport’s subcommittee. One household in East Hampton, whose location was not disclosed, filed 1,111 individual complaints in 2013.
Gerard Boleis, chair of the Airport Operations and Helicopter Noise Reduction Subcommittee, said the numbers were down from years past, but that more could still be done to help resolve the issue.
“The control tower, which we supported, keeps helicopters high, thereby reducing the noise on the ground,” Mr. Boleis said, “but more work needs to be done.”
Outside of East Hampton Town, a total of 154 households filed complaints, including 109 households in the Town of Southampton and 45 houses on the North Fork, Shelter Island and in other areas.
According to the subcommittee’s findings, the top 10 complainants outside East Hampton Town filed 3,395 times, accounting for 75.9 percent of the total complaints filed in Southampton, on the North Fork and Shelter Island, and in other areas. The top complainant in those areas filed 1,624 times in 2013; the exact location of that house was not made available.
“The whole concept of a noise complaint hotline, and using noise complaints as a representation of noise disturbances, is flawed,” said Kathy Cunningham, chair of the Quiet Skies Coalition. “It implies that when there’s no complaint, there’s no noise disturbance. We know that’s not true. Most of us are raised to believe you don’t spend a lot of time complaining, you try to be a good neighbor, and so on. So for one household to be singled out because they happened to file the most number of complaints makes it sound like they’re some kind of unreasonable person.”
Furthermore, Ms. Cunningham said, while the airport’s noise complaint data may be needed for the town to understand and mitigate noise levels, “I think it’s peculiar that the aviation industry is reporting noise events when the noise-affected community has had a hard time getting this information.”