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Southold wary of asking FAA to reconsider changing copter route

Southold Town Supervisior Scott Russell is shown in

Southold Town Supervisior Scott Russell is shown in this photo taken on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 at Southold Town Hall. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Despite an attorney’s recent suggestion that Southold Town file a new petition again asking the FAA to change the North Shore helicopter route, officials said they will instead consider other legal options to reduce aircraft noise.

James Harmon, an attorney working with the town’s Helicopter Noise Steering Committee, told the Southold Town Board at its Tuesday work session that they can file a new petition to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA denied the town’s November petition asking the agency to terminate the North Shore route and order flight operations to or from all South Fork landing points to use the South Shore flight route. The denial was in a letter dated May 16.

Town Councilman Bob Ghosio, the town board’s liaison with the helicopter committee, said that though the town has the option of resubmitting the petition “from a different perspective,” he doesn’t think the board will do so.

“We’re figuring out that no matter what we do in terms of these petitions, the FAA has the ability to decline them,” Ghosio said.

Town Supervisor Scott Russell agreed.

“I do not think the board at this time sees any merit toward resubmitting,” Russell said. “It’s going to go to the same people who’ve already said ‘No.’ And it gets to the point where you wonder, ‘How many no’s are you going to hear from bureaucracy?’ We put all of our objections into one letter the first time, so there would be nothing new to cover in a second petition, which is why I think the town board is leaning away from that.”

Town officials said they have support from Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who they said is looking into the matter from the federal level. The town also filed a pending amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting East Hampton Town’s request to overturn a lower court decision striking down East Hampton’s airport curfew laws.

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