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Southampton helicopter noise regulation discussion postponed by village board

A helicopter departs from the East Hampton Town

A helicopter departs from the East Hampton Town Airport in Wainscott, Nov. 11, 2014. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Southampton Village board officials have postponed their discussion of a proposed law that would limit takeoffs and landings at the Meadow Lane heliport.

Village Administrator Stephen Funsch said last week that the mayor and trustees were expected to talk about the new regulations Thursday, but, after monitoring heliport traffic during the July Fourth holiday, they decided there was no need for the discussion.

The proposed law is being considered because of concerns about possible overcrowding at the heliport after U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert's recent ruling that allowed two of three curfews at East Hampton's Wainscott airport that were passed by the town board in April.

"Over the weekend there wasn't really a bump in traffic [at the heliport], so the board's going to continue to monitor it and see what happens," Funsch said in a telephone interview before Thursday's village board meeting.

East Hampton's restrictions were challenged in a lawsuit filed by Friends of East Hampton Airport.

Seybert issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting a one-trip-per-week limit on noisy aircraft from going into effect.

The restriction was to be in place between May and September.

Southampton Mayor Mark Epley said the new restrictions for East Hampton's airport could eliminate 80 percent of the activity there and the heliport could not handle the overflow.

Under the proposed Southampton law, each helicopter would be allowed to land and take off three times per week through Sept. 15. Currently, landings and takeoffs are unlimited during the summer, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

In winter, the landings and takeoffs have to cease by sunset.

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