The East Hampton Village Board officially asked East Hampton Town last week to stop accepting Federal Aviation Association grants by the end of this year, joining many neighboring municipalities in asking the town to take the step as a way to address noise problems at East Hampton Airport.
The village’s resolution, approved on Thursday, September 4, also stated that the town should “adopt a comprehensive aircraft limitation policy applying to helicopters, jets, seaplanes ... including evening and weekend curfews and all other reasonable airport access restrictions ... immediately after December 31.”
As of now, the airport is partially funded by grant money from the FAA. Because the airport is not completely self-sufficient, the town must receive approval from the FAA in order to implement a mandatory curfew or quota flights, the town’s attorney, Peter Kirsch, said in an interview on Thursday morning.
However, the conditions on four of the grants are due to expire at the end of this year, according to Mr. Kirsch, which would allow the town to begin to further regulate when the airport is used and how frequently aircraft can land and take off.
The Village Board’s resolution follows similar ones in Southampton Town, Shelter Island, Southold, North Haven and other municipalities, many of which were read aloud at a meeting at the LTV Studios in Wainscott at the end of August.
“In recent days, the Town Board had a public hearing as it relates to the airport issue,” said East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. during Thursday’s meeting. “At that particular time and place, we didn’t want to issue a statement but rather listen to what others had to say. This is a culmination of listening to what others had to say, and we feel like it’s the right thing to do at this time,” the mayor said of the resolution.
Additionally, the resolution requests that the town give the village 60 days notice of any future change in airport policy that may adversely affect village residents.
The Village Board also discussed changing the rules for mass gathering permits, which need to be reexamined in light of problems with the Ride to Montauk bike race this past June, said Village Administrator Rebecca Molinaro.
Currently, the code requires a group of 50 or more people to get a mass-gathering permit regardless of where they plan to gather. The proposal would require a separate application if the group plans to assemble anywhere on village property. It would also require those applying for a permit to put down a $250 security deposit and show proof of liability insurance.
“Based on the application, it would be at the discretion of my office if an event warrants public works and police presence. The applicant would be responsible for the additional cost,” said Ms. Molinaro.
The village found itself supplying police officers to monitor the Ride to Montauk, a bike race that ran through the village and town of East Hampton and ended in Montauk. Bicycle Shows U.S., the company organizing the event, did not have a permit for the race, which was expected to draw nearly 3,000 people. The town took the company to court asking for a temporary restraining order to block the event, but eventually withdrew the request. The race went on, but only 1,500 people were permitted to participate.
“After it went to court, the village was reimbursed the money for providing police services during the event,” Ms. Molinaro said, “but this protects the village from that happening again.”
The village’s next step is to put out a notice for a public hearing on the code amendment, said Village Attorney Linda Riley. A public hearing is likely to take place sometime in October.