I recently called the Southampton Town tax assessor’s office to discuss the ever-increasing appraisal of our property. We are in the path of the eastbound helicopter route, which has increased considerably. The ever-increasing eastbound helicopter traffic that follows a narrow path over Southampton Town residences is deafening, polluting and is counter to what the East End represents.
Those in the path are unable to sell their homes for the value assessed. That is wrong. Unethical Realtors are advised to only show houses for sale during light helicopter days (mostly Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday). That is wrong.
Ninety percent of the air traffic goes over Southampton Town, yet the town receives none of the financial benefit that East Hampton receives. Why does Southampton Town not fight for its citizens?
Traveling over the ocean and cutting in via the East Hampton coastline would affect those with the deep pockets who benefit from and promote the helicopters. The word among those in the aviation industry is: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” The helicopter pilot cowboys fly low and loud over those houses in the path. Frequently, they turn off their transponders so the people on the ground can’t identify them. This is a violation—but there are no consequences.
Southampton Town has never supported its residents on this issue, nor are property taxes being reduced as a result. There is no question that property values are reduced, and one cannot sell a home for market value if you are unfortunate enough to live in the path. The path is narrow, and only those under the path are mostly affected, so most of the Southampton Town residents are not concerned. But those living under the path live in “Helicopter Hell.”
At minimum, those living in the path should receive a significant property tax reduction, at least until 2021, when the FAA control expires.
Beyond that, it would be remarkably unusual but appreciative if our representatives take on the fight for quiet skies, or at least push for alternate routes to distribute the helicopter noise over a larger area. A few helicopters are fine. Every three to five minutes, four days a week, is deafening, polluting and overwhelmingly invasive.
Quoting the owner of one of the helicopter companies in New Jersey who feels badly for those residents getting hit with 100 percent of the eastbound traffic, he says it’s “a highway in the sky.”
Nicki DinerSag Harbor
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