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Nassau panel hears residents' complaints about airplane noise

Many of the 70 or so attending complained that loud and low-flying planes hovering over their homes were negatively affecting their quality of life.

Elaine Miller of Plane Sense 4 LI speaks

Elaine Miller of Plane Sense 4 LI speaks during the Nassau County Aviation Committee meeting Tuesday night. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A newly formed airplane noise pollution committee made its debut Tuesday night at Nassau Community College to hear from residents affected by the issue.  

Members of the Nassau County Aviation Committee — consisting of representatives from 17 Nassau and New York State elected officials — met with dozens of people living near Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.

Many of the 70 or so attendees complained that loud and low-flying planes passing over their homes were negatively affecting their quality of life.

“It was nice and quiet. Boy, it was nice and quiet; it’s not quiet any more. I can’t sit for one second,” said Sherri Hurwitz, 56,  about the last six years in her Roslyn Heights home. “When is it going to stop? It sounds like a bomb. When will there be peace again? Something has to be done.”

Robyn Ratner believes she and her three children are being poisoned by toxic fumes emitting from jet fuel.

“We’re being slowly poisoned and paying the highest taxes in the country,” said Ratner, 40. “The whole community is being exposed, including playgrounds and backyards.”

Residents say they want the Federal Aviation Administration to reroute planes away from their homes.

Others said they need earplugs to sleep, that their houses rattle, and that their property values are plummeting.

“My real estate agent didn’t say a word. I feel like I’ve been robbed. I grew up in Queens and worked 20 years for this house,” said North New Hyde Park resident Stacey Vargas, 53.

The advocacy group Plane Sense 4 Long Island sponsored the event and put the committee together. Staff members  of Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran were on hand.

During the meeting, Jared Fischedick, a member of Curran’s staff, was peppered with questions as to why he himself  hadn't responded to emails spanning several months about airplane noise.

When Fischedick apologized, he was then pressed on what he or Curran have planned to do to abate airplane pollution.

“This is a serious issue and something that is important to us,” Fischedick said.

Plane Sense co-chair Jana Goldenberg said she appreciated the lively discussion. “We know everyone’s complaints,” she said after the meeting, noting some of the questions and concerns  would be addressed at the next meeting.

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