some guy in the comments wrote:No one is "anti-airport". We are anti-noise pollution from egregious and continual noise from incessant helicopters, seaplanes, piston engines, and jets. Recreational aviation is wonderful. Our small airport has become a taxi destination and that was ruining our east end neighbor's lives.
East Hampton Town Board Approves Airport Restrictions
Airport Supporters Respond With A Legal Challenge
The East Hampton, CT Town Board last week voted to enact three restrictions to operations at East Hampton Airport the board said would reduce noise from aircraft.
The restrictions include a mandatory curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. on all aircraft, and an additional curfew from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. on "noisy" aircraft. A third limits operations by "noisy" aircraft to one trip per week during the summer season. The new rules are set to go into effect Memorial Day weekend, according to Newsday.
27east reports that only Councilman Fred Overton cast one "no" vote on one of the ordinances. He said that he felt that the restriction would "seriously inconvenience airport users," and that he would prefer an approach that "slight favors users of the airport."
A group calling itself the "Friends of East Hampton Airport Coalition" has filed a lawsuit to prevent the restrictions from being enacted. The East Hampton Patch reports that Loren Reigelhaupt, a spokesman for the group, said the suit had been filed after the organization "concluded that we had no alternative but to [sue] after months of trying, without success, to convince the Town to follow its obligations under federal aviation law."
The suit holds that the town does not have standing to "use their police powers to regulate aircraft in flight or to impose airport noise or access restrictions." It further says that the bans are in violation of the federal Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990. That law says that airport proprietors may not impose any noise or access restrictions on any aircraft classified by the FAA as "Stage 2" or "Stage 3" aircraft without complying with the requirements of the act, which the Friends group says the Town has not done.
The lawsuit also says the town has violated the Airway Improvement Act of 1982. The town has received federal funding for the airport, and therefore must keep it "open and accessible to all times of aircraft and aeronautical activities, including commercial activities.
“The restrictions violate these grant assurances because they are unreasonable and anti-competitive in nature, unfairly discriminate against certain aircraft, and will so deprive the Airport of revenue as to make it difficult or impossible for the Airport to be properly maintained,“ the lawsuit reads.
The Town says that the lawsuit is "entirely predictable." Officials say that the Friends group has ignored multiple studies and public meetings, and the Town waited until its obligations to the federal government regarding grant funding had been met before passing the restrictions; that only the "most disturbing" aircraft are affected; and that the rules are "only as restrictive as necessary."
The Town said in a news release that it is "prepared for litigation" and will defend itself against the charges. The Town said that the airport users "are now going to force the Town to spend scarce airport funds to defend these restrictions rather than working to make this airport the best it can be.”
(Image from the Friends of East Hampton Airport Coalition Facebook page)
FMI: http://www.easthamptonct.gov/Pages/East ... lerk/index, http://www.facebook.com/SaveHTO
The federal court on Wednesday issued an order extending the deadline to rule on a temporary restraining order that would block the enforcement of three airport restrictions the town adopted in April, according to a release from the town of East Hampton.
A group of pilots and members of the aviation industry who oppose the laws filed for a temporary restraining order shortly after the town board adopted the two curfews and the restriction on touch-and-go operations. On May 18, Judge Joanna Seybert requested three weeks to review the case, at which point she would rule on a preliminary injunction.
On Wednesday, Judge Seybert extended that deadline to Friday, June 26, “citing the complexity of the issues involved,” the release states.
“The Town Board remains confident that it will prevail in the litigation, however, out of respect for the judicial process, the Town has agreed to continue to not enforce the local laws pending the Court’s decision,” the release reads.
SCHUMER: FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION SHOULD STAY OUT OF AIRCRAFT NOISE LAWSUIT BETWEEN TOWN OF EAST HAMPTON & AVIATION INDUSTRY
Town Of East Hampton, Which Operates Local Airport, Recently Established Aircraft Noise Restrictions to Improve Quality Of Life For Tens Of Thousands Of Residents—To Alleviate Community Concerns Caused By Incessant Aircraft Noise During Summer Months
Senator Urges FAA to Stop Intervening in Lawsuit And Honor Prior Commitment, As East Hampton Airport No Longer Receives FAA Funding
Schumer: The East End Already Has Enough Aircraft Noise; It Doesn’t Need Background Noise from the FAA Threatening to Sue
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to forgo its support of a temporary restraining order on the Town of East Hampton to prevent the implementation of the Town’s aircraft noise ordinances. For years, residents of the East End have been faced with incessant aircraft noise throughout the summer months. In the past, the Town was subject to federal ANCA regulations as a recipient of FAA funding, but when the Town voluntarily stopped receiving funding, the grant assurances expired and enabled the Town to set access restriction without FAA approval. This was confirmed in a FAA letter sent to former Congressman Tim Bishop. As a result, the Town of East Hampton put forth three local laws that crackdown on the aircraft noise issue. Schumer said that, since they dropped federal funding and were previously assured by FAA that it would not intervene, the Town should not face any objections from the FAA regarding these laws and should be allowed to defend these strictures against various challenges free of FAA interference.
“The FAA is creating an unnecessary amount of turbulence over control of the East Hampton Airport. They should honor their prior position on non-intervention and let the Town defend the regulations on their own legal merits,” said Schumer. “The Town of East Hampton is already trying to cope with the challenge of managing aircraft noise, and it doesn’t need more background noise from the FAA.”
According to residents, the Town of East Hampton and surrounding areas endure the constant sound of airplanes and helicopters that fly low overhead during the summer months. Air traffic through the East Hampton Airport increases dramatically over the summer, and local residents have complained about the noise frequency and levels and, following the cessation of federal financial support for the East Hampton airport, the local board took steps to mitigate noise levels. These regulations are being challenged in court by a coalition of aircraft industry concerns.
In April, the Town of East Hampton proposed three laws to address the noise problem. First, the Town of East Hampton banned all flights between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Second, the Town created a curfew for especially noisy aircrafts from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. Lastly, the Town limited noisy aircrafts to one trip each week between May and September.
The aviation industry brought the Town to court and claimed that air control was under the jurisdiction of the federal government; counter to its previous pledge not to intervene, the FAA supported the aviation industry’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the Town from imposing these regulations.
The Town of East Hampton had ties to the FAA until last year, when they decided to stop receiving funds from the FAA. When the FAA grant assurances expired and the Airport Improvement Program was halted, the Town says it was free to enforce its new ordinances.
Schumer today urged the FAA to pull back on its legal fight over the East Hampton Airport and allow the challenge to be litigated on its merits without interference from the FAA. Schumer went on to say that unless the rules limit operations in an arbitrary, discriminatory way, there is no reason for the FAA to sue over the implementation of these rules.
A copy of Schumer’s letter is below:
Dear Administrator Huerta:
I write regarding the local ordinances regulating airport use and aircraft noise recently adopted by the Town of East Hampton to urge the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to refrain from joining in the legal action against these regulations being pursued by a coalition of aviation businesses.
Previously, the FAA indicated that it would not take or support legal actions against the Town of Easthampton if it established reasonable airport use regulations, so the FAA decision to support the temporary restraining order (TRO) was disappointing and inconsistent. Therefore, I urge the FAA to refrain from joining in any further legal action in this matter, especially as it related to the underlying merits of the case.
Residents on the East End of Long Island experience a high volume of helicopter and aircraft noise, especially over the summer months. As aircraft traffic into and out of the East Hampton Airport increases, many residents believe their quality of life decreases. For years, as air traffic increased, so did complaints from residents and the desire to mitigate the noise problem. Yet the Town was constrained from acting because the airport received FAA grants money, which required it to adhere to federal rules and refrain from passing their own.
Last year, however, the Town of East Hampton let their FAA grant assurances expire, and decided to forego future funding from the FAA, including funding from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The Town deliberately took these steps so that they would have the legal standing to implement and enforce these new ordinances without violating FAA rules. Because the Town is no longer accepting federal funding from the FAA, they hold they should be free to implement ordinances like these without unnecessary interference or objection from the FAA, as long as they do not limit operations in an unreasonable, arbitrary, or discriminatory way. Specifically, in April the East Hampton Town Board adopted ordinances banning all flights between 11:00pm and 7:00am, and limiting the flight of certain aircraft. The Town also adopted an ordinance limiting noisy aircraft to one takeoff and landing per week between May and September.
In the spirit and letter of the previous FAA assurance to former Congressman Tim Bishop that it would not oppose reasonable local regulations, I urge the FAA to withdraw from the legal fight over the East Hampton Airport noise ordinances and to allow the community to confront the legal challenge to implement the rules they feel are necessary to maintain their quality of life.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
Judge Joanna Sybert on Friday said that the town of East Hampton could not impose a "one-flight-per-week" limit on helicopter companies ferrying people from New York City to the resort area, but did allow the curfews sought by the town to be enforced. That means no flights between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., and no departures of the "noisiest" aircraft from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Bloomberg Business reports that East Hampton city attorney Peter Kirsch called the ruling a "ratification of the town board's actions." He said it provides a "road map" for the types of restrictions that can be imposed by municipalities concerned about noise.
The New York Times reports that Judge Seybert said that the Friends of East Hampton Airport ... which includes charter operators, FBOs, and pilots ... demonstrated that its members would "suffer irreparable harm" if the town were allowed to impose the one-flight-per-week limit.
The town had argued that, because they no longer accept federal grants for airport improvements and other operations, the could impose what ever restrictions they felt were necessary to protect the quality of life in the region.
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