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Civic groups say environmental report doesn't address key issues for residents near Republic Airport

Talon Air's hanger at Republic Airport in East

Talon Air's hanger at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale is shown on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Local civic associations said a draft environmental assessment report prepared for the development of five parcels at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale does not adequately address the impacts of aircraft noise and other quality-of-life concerns of residents who live nearby.

The Republic Airport Civic Coalition for Integrity and Compliance, which represents seven civic associations, said the report prepared for Stratosphere Development Co. LLC — which leases to Talon Air Inc., a provider of private jet charter services — does not assure compliance and accuracy. The draft environmental assessment report found no significant permanent environmental effects from the development.

Stratosphere wants to develop the parcels — about 54 of the airport’s 530 acres — to build hangars, office space and aircraft parking areas.

"The encircled noise area on the report omits directly the affected area of one-family residences in the direct flight plan," the group wrote. "This will (and is already) affecting the quality of life for these homeowners."

According to the draft environmental assessment report prepared by the Manhattan office of Hauppauge-based VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture, if Stratosphere does not advance its proposed project, the company would be at a competitive disadvantage to other fixed-base operators like Sheltair Aviation Services, which is also based at the airport.

"Based on our recent experience with the developer (Sheltair) who followed all the state and federal rules, and of equal importance, maintained a robust relationship based on trust, information and respect for the community throughout the process, we know what is possible," the coalition said.

In a statement, the Woodland Civic Association, a member in the coalition and based in East Farmingdale, said the project needs to have all its environmental impacts assessed together with impacts of the past, present and "reasonably foreseeable actions, including maximum development potential of Republic Airport."

"There are many issues that the EA [environmental assessment] has not addressed, such as the brief traffic analysis, which used only the projected number of jobs that will be created by the proposed action to determine future traffic," the civic group said. "The number of vehicles used by charter passengers entering and exiting were ignored."

The coalitions noted that the project must be thoroughly assessed in an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act.

A spokeswoman for VHB did not respond to a request for comment. An official with Stratosphere could not be reached.

The state Department of Transportation is accepting comments on the draft assessment until Sept. 15. The public can email comments to aviation@dot.ny.gov

"The state is following the federally prescribed environmental review process, which is reviewed and overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration," DOT spokesman Joseph Morrissey said.

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