An aerial view of Republic Airport in East Farmingdale

An aerial view of Republic Airport in East Farmingdale Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin, 2010

Republic Airport will not enter the commercial aviation business, and there are no specific plans to increase the jet traffic responsible for most noise complaints from the East Farmingdale airport's neighbors, officials said.

But little else is definite as representatives of and consultants to the state's busiest general aviation airport continue to craft a “vision plan” for future development.

Next up: an open house for the public Wednesday.

The open house is the culmination of a three-year push for public input that included 38 meetings with civic, business and aviation groups and hundreds more with individuals, and it is the last opportunity for interested parties to weigh in with new ideas before the information-gathering phase of the project is complete.

Airport officials and a Garden-City based consultant will use those comments, subject to officials' analysis and more public input, to produce the final document, which will cover such topics as development of airport-owned land, airport finances and aircraft noise policy. Officials said last week they hope it will be ready by year's end.

The site operated as a private air field or public airport since the late 1920s.

Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone, who is running for Suffolk County executive, said the plan will not be credible unless it “provides concrete assurances about the growth and development of the airport and mechanisms to ensure that whatever agreed to is something that will be honored.“

Unchecked growth, he said, could result in “more planes, bigger planes, at greater frequency.“

Thomas Joseph Jr., president of the Residents of East Farmingdale Civic Association, is among residents pushing for a nighttime flight curfew to replace the current policy, which discourages but does not prohibit nighttime takeoffs and landings. “We've never had a problem during the day, but nighttime traffic” is waking people up, he said.

Sheltair, the company that provides ground support services for many pilots and aircraft at the airport, has expressed interest in building new hangars on a 40-acre wooded parcel on the airport's southern edge, which would increase Republic's jet capacity.

The new hangars would “support increased demand in the region created by anticipated economic development,“ said Sheltair vice president Bill McShane. They don't, however, guarantee more air traffic, he said. “Traffic is driven by the economic health of the region, not by development.“

If the vision plan is finalized by the new year, officials said, new airport development could come as early as 2013.

Staff from DY Consultants, the company hired to shepherd the document's production, will run the open house. Visitors will be able to circulate through about 10 stations covering topics like noise, infrastructure, aesthetics, fees and airport services.

The open house runs from 3 to 8 p.m. at the airport's main terminal.

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