Residents from East Hampton to Southold are split on whether East Hampton Town officials should proceed with a $2 million, last-resort process to curb airport noise that carries no guarantee of success.
Those attending Tuesday’s work session of the East Hampton Town Board expressed mixed views about applying to impose local restrictions at East Hampton Airport in Wainscott using a Part 161 study, after consultants presented data showing the Federal Aviation Administration process could take up to three years.
Some of the 50 residents suggested ways for the town to make an effective case to the FAA, while several opponents pushed for closing the airport.
“It’s going to be years to go through the court system and get anywhere, and it’s going to cost a lot of money,” said Noyac resident Gene Polito. “It gives you no alternative but to consider closing the airport.”
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said that while the study “is a daunting task,” the town board is considering it carefully after a federal court in November struck down the town’s airport curfew laws.
Cantwell said that voluntary restrictions would be difficult to enforce and that the town board cannot alter flight paths. The board does not favor closing the airport, the supervisor said.
“The truth of the matter is we have limited options here,” Cantwell told the crowd. “We have no control over airspace.”
Kathryn Slye, a member of the East Hampton Aviation Association, said the association would “really like” to work with the town board to propose ways to alleviate noise.
Gene Orshin, another member of the group, said the association had opposed how the town imposed airport curfew laws, not the actual restrictions.
Residents also said they want to determine how many people filed noise complaints after a study compiling two registries showed complaints rose by 133 percent in the first seven months of this year.
Mary Ellen Eagan, president and chief executive of HMMH, the Burlington, Massachusetts, firm that conducted the analysis, said the same complaints may have been on both registries.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the East Hampton Aviation Association was a party in a lawsuit over East Hampton Town curfew laws.