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East Hampton Officials Meet With FAA Over Airport

August 30, 2017
In The News

East Hampton Town officials met last Monday with representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration to discuss concerns about the East Hampton Airport in advance of the town’s plans to petition the FAA to gain control over restrictions at the airport.

Congressman Lee Zeldin arranged for the meeting, which he attended along with East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell and Councilwomen Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, and several officials from the FAA, including Elliot Black, the director of the Office of Airport Planning and Programming, Steve Urlass, the manager of the FAA’s Eastern Region Airports Division, and the FAA’s regional counsel, Mary McCarthy.

According to a press release issued after the meeting, town officials reiterated their position that they have a responsibility to protect local residents from being impacted by noise generated at the increasingly busy airport. After the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in November of 2016 that local government did not have the right to impose restrictions at the airport that did not comply with FAA regulations, aviation attorneys representing the town petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal. The court declined to hear the case in June. In May, prior to the higher court’s decision, the town board hired international law firm Morrison Foerster to explore pursuing what is called a Part 161 application to the FAA, allowing the town to regain control over the airport it owns.

Last Monday, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez and Mr. Cantwell asked the FAA for its cooperation if the town moves forward with that application, which would include a detailed analysis of the airport, its operations, noise and environmental impacts, potential impacts on other communities from noise, diversion of traffic and its contribution to the economy.

Following the meeting with the FAA, the town announced it would hold a work session on Tuesday, September 19, at 10 a.m. at East Hampton Town Hall to discuss the process with attorney Bill O’Connor from Morrison Foerster, and noise consultants Mary Ellen Eagan and Adam Scholten from HMMH. The session will include a presentation on the Airport Noise Capacity Act (ANCA) and the Part 161 process, including how much it would cost taxpayers if the town were to pursue the application.

“This was a good opportunity to communicate in person with FAA officials regarding the continued concerns of residents impacted by aircraft noise and to discuss the Part 161 process,” said Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, the town board’s liaison to the airport. “I look forward to engaging the residents of our town in this process and I am determined to find solutions that will provide meaningful noise relief while maintaining a safe local airport.”