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FAA, airport officials no-shows at hearing

A public meeting was held this evening at

A public meeting was held this evening at the Garden City Public Library where ways in which the loud disturbances of low flying aircraft over neighboring JFK communities might be abated were discussed. Holding posters are the Deputy Mayor of the Village of East Hills, Manny Zuckerman and Clara Pomerantz, a Trustee from East Hills. (Feb. 27, 2012) Credit: Steven Sunshine

More than 100 people packed a meeting room at the Garden City Public Library Monday night to get an explanation from FAA and Kennedy Airport officials about why airplane noise has jumped in recent months.

But no one from either organization showed up.

The monthly meeting of the Town-Village Safety and Noise Abatement Committee typically includes representatives from the FAA or the international airport to answer questions or address concerns.

Tarek Shams, a spokesman for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, said her office was told Monday afternoon no one from the FAA or Port Authority would attend the meeting.

Residents, many of whom said they noticed a discernible increase of flight noise above them in Floral Park, Valley Stream and Garden City, were upset.

Jeff Greenfield of Rockville Centre said the agency's name should stand for "Failure to Answer and Account."

"I'm embarrassed to be here as a citizen and taxpayer and no one from the FAA or Port Authority is here," he said.

David Lawrence of Floral Park said the board should take more grassroots action, including circling one of the major airports in protest. "We need to take it to the streets," he said.

Officials from the FAA and Kennedy Airport could not reached last night to comment.

Overnight arrivals on the airport's Runway 22L jumped in the last four months of 2011 compared with the prior year, despite officials' promises to try to reduce noise in Nassau County communities along that route.

Air traffic controllers used Runway 22L for 800 more overnight landings between September and December than in the same period in 2010, an increase of 31.7 percent, according to Port Authority statistics.

Last fall, complaints about noise during night hours prompted FAA officials to announce that they would take measures to better monitor planes and give residents more quiet nights. The FAA and Port Authority officials have said that many factors influence what runways are used -- day and night -- including weather conditions, wind, operational efficiency and safety.

But people living in communities that are along the Runway 22L approach path said it's more noisy. FAA officials said the agency has tried to rotate runway use when feasible on overnight arrivals, those between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

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