East Hampton Appeals Helicopter Ruling; Southold to Host Another Air Traffic Noise Forum

A steady line of helicopters makes its way across the North Fork to the East Hampton Airport on Friday afternoons.

East Hampton Town has appealed a judge’s decision to not allow the town to enforce its rule limiting noisy helicopters to one trip per week to the town’s municipal airport, while the case is being argued in federal court. The town is arguing that the one-trip limit restriction and two curfews, which were allowed to proceed, were intended to work together provide noise relief.

The town adopted three local laws in April imposing use restrictions on noisy operations at the airport, but a group of opponents sued in federal court to keep the restrictions from going into effect. In late June, Federal District Court Judge Joanna Seybert prohibited the town from enforcing the one-trip limit law while the case is being argued in her court.

The other two, a nighttime curfew on all air traffic from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and a curfew on noisy aircraft using the airport between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m., went into effect July 2.

“We believe all three laws are lawful and necessary to protect the quality of life on the East End,” said Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell. “These three laws are the result of careful, thoughtful, and transparent balancing by the Town Board. We are hopeful that the court of appeals will recognize that all three laws are essential to address the problem of excessive aircraft noise.”

The three use restrictions were intended to work together to provide noise relief, he added. The one trip per week restriction was designed to limit the noisiest aircraft during the summer season, when residents and visitors naturally have a heightened expectation that they can enjoy the outdoor environment.

The town has retained attorney Kathleen M. Sullivan, one of the country’s preeminent appellate lawyers, to assist the town’s airport counsel, Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell, LLP, with the appeal.

Meanwhile, up on the North Fork, where a steady stream of helicopters, seaplanes and jets have marked the approach to this summer’s weekends, the Southold Helicopter Committee is planning yet another forum on aircraft noise.

The forum, which will be held at the Peconic Recreation Center on Aug. 13 at 6:30 p.m., will provide an overview of recent developments and include presentations from speakers and elected officials from throughout the East End.


Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

2 thoughts on “East Hampton Appeals Helicopter Ruling; Southold to Host Another Air Traffic Noise Forum

  • July 23, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    The Judge’s Injunction was probably incorrectly granted. It would be subject to the standard 4-prong test:
    (1) does it prevent irreparable harm to the plaintiff, (2) outweighing the harm to the Town?
    (3) Is the Plaintiffs’ suit likely to succeed? (4) How does it affect the public’s interests?
    On all 4 grounds the injunction should probably not have been granted, however they are balanced against each other.

  • July 24, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Congress should rewrite the legislation that created the FAA and its mission. Times have changed and no one now believes that the FAA should be an advocate for the growth of an industry who at the time of its creation were barn storming crop dusters and mail transports. The airline industry makes billions of dollars. FAA mission should be reduced to safety and environmental concerns with aircraft, airports and helicopters.


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