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East Hampton group formed to fight airport noise

Helicopters at East Hampton Airport on Friday, June

Helicopters at East Hampton Airport on Friday, June 26, 2015. Credit: Doug Kuntz

Another group has been formed to fight airport noise at East Hampton’s airport.

The East Hampton Airport Noise Citizens Advisory Committee joins several citizens groups that are trying to find ways to combat noise from aircraft using the Wainscott facility.

Just last month an announcement came that another group had started - Say No to KHTO – which has the goal of closing the airport altogether so residents will no longer be “tormented by aircraft noise.”

KHTO is the code name used for the airport by air traffic controllers.

David Gruber, chair of the newest group, said its members aren’t trying to shutter the airport. He said his is a successor to a disbanded 11-member noise committee that had been appointed by the town board.

“We have all of the original 11 members, except for one,” said Gruber, 64, who has lived in East Hampton for 30 years and who “about 25 years ago” was the attorney for yet another group, Committee to Stop Airport Expansion.

Gruber, one of the original 11 appointed members of that group, said the appointees had asked that the group be reinstated but the town board declined, considering the committee’s work done.

Gruber said that as an appointed committee, members gave advice on curbing airport noise. That group was formed in early 2014 then was disbanded by the board 15 months later.

“We provided technical support,” Gruber explained in an interview earlier this week. “Aviation is subject to a lot of federal law and the town has to be careful to respect the federal law.”

Gruber said that this time around the group will unofficially study conditions at the airport and make its findings available to anyone who wishes to see it on a website it is planning to launch.

He said its first major event will be Friday, when the group will meet at the airport at 5 p.m.

“The purpose of the visit is to observe traffic levels plus general conditions to gather information and recommend noise solutions,” said Sheryl Gold, a spokeswoman for the group.

When asked about the formation of the new group and the disbanding of the old one, East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said: “Citizen participation is always a good thing and is always welcome – we hope to listen to their thoughts.”

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