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Aug 23, 2016 4:27 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Group Will Press Town To Close East Hampton Airport

A group gets ready to board a Blade helicopter at East Hampton Airport in early August. LAURA WEIR
Aug 24, 2016 10:59 AM

Impatient with town efforts to tone down the din of East Hampton Airport, some residents of the neighborhoods that surround the property say they are going to start looking for avenues through which they can convince the town to abandon the airport use altogether.

A group calling itself Say No To KHTO—referencing East Hampton’s official airport code—announced its formation this week, led by Barry Raebeck, a teacher and author who lives near the airport and was one of the founders of the Quiet Skies Coalition, a citizens group that formed in 2011 to push for reduction in aircraft noise.

But with traffic at the airport continually increasing and “meaningful aircraft noise abatement” a failure, Mr. Raebeck said he is splitting from the Quiet Skies Coalition and taking up the cause of finding an entirely new use for the airport property.

“This huge tract of town-owned, commercially zoned land can better serve our community in a variety of ways,” Mr. Raebeck is quoted as saying in a press release sent to local media outlets on Monday. “In terms of jobs per acre, the airport is a bust, a lost opportunity for the community.”

The statement nods to leases the town has signed recently with non-aviation companies, who are grabbing up portions of the airport property for more than 50,000 an acre, per year. At those rates, the group’s statement says, the town could be generating between $10 million and $15 million, and generate far more jobs, if it closed down the airport and dedicated the property to commercial uses.

The group calls for the town to begin exploring other alternatives for the property, from commercial uses to wind or solar power generation, affordable housing, or parks and recreation. The group claims that it will begin working 
on development plans for the airport to present to the community, in hopes of casting the airport in a new light “so that taxpayers and voters of East Hampton can fully understand what the airport is costing the community.”

At least one Town Board member was unconvinced at first blush.

“The airport is an asset to the town, I have always felt that way,” Councilwoman Sylvia Overby said. “I’m waiting to see if we, as the proprietors, are able to control our airport. We’re doing this step by step—and we have to do that within the legal parameters of the law—and we’ll continue to work toward a quiet, sustainable airport that is a benefit to the people of East Hampton.”

Last year the Town Board adopted curfews for all aircraft using the airport and a more narrow curfew for especially noisy aircraft. The board also adopted a limit on the number of trips a given aircraft can make to the airport in a week, but that rule was blocked by a federal judge after legal challenges by aviation industry interests. There are seven lawsuits pending against the town over the various new controls it has tried to exert on the airport.

Earlier this month the town released statistics of the airport traffic patterns this summer, showing a 3-percent increase in overall traffic at the airport compared to the first seven months of 2015. Helicopter flights, however, continued to drop, down 10 percent this year and more than 20 percent overall since the curfews were imposed. The percentage of the total flights that are helicopters, the biggest generators of noise complaints, has dropped from 33 percent in 2014 to 18 percent this year so far.

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That has been the goal of this group from the get go, shut down the air port for their benefit. They will never be satisfied until the airport is closed.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Aug 24, 16 8:15 AM
3 members liked this comment
As the article makes clear,

"Mr. Raebeck said he is splitting from Quiet Skies Coalition and taking up the cause of finding a new use for the airport."
The Quiet Skies Coalition [QSC] has never advocated closing the airport -- a point which has fallen on deaf ears here for years -- so at the very least, the battle lines are more clearly drawn now.

The pilots should adjust their compasses and re-direct their flight paths to a logical destination.

QSC ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 24, 16 10:02 AM
QSC is entirely behind the formation of this group and has been bragging about it for weeks. They have tried to pretend this was not their goal for years, even though everyone knew the truth. They have no problem bald faced lying to create misdirection and this is just another maneuver to accomplish the same goal they have always had - closing the airport and developing the land. Don't believe for one second that they want to leave the land in the town's hands for commercial use. Raebeck, Gruber, ...more
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Aug 24, 16 11:55 AM
And what if you are wrong, to
tally wrong, will you apologize?
By Trish (91), Sag Harbor on Aug 24, 16 7:04 PM
Develop the the land, put in concrete and steel. Displace all the animals, deer, rabbits birds etc.
Sounds like someone that hales from west of the canal. I moved close to the LIRR [dam whistle]. Highway department starts early too. Make them all concrete and create jobs. Not in my back yard???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 24, 16 8:53 AM
These people should move. Go away. Pretty sure the airport was there long before they moved to the area. Typical Hamptons Citiots.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Aug 24, 16 9:26 AM
My point exctly!

How many of the people objecting to the presence of the airport actually pre-date the airport's presence?

> "No need to have an airport in East Hampton..."

Where do you expect the Clinton's and the Biden's to land?

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Aug 24, 16 10:27 AM
Absolutely none of them pre-date the airport since it has been here since 1936 and has had commercial commuter service since the 1940s. Gotta pull back with green curtain to see what the truth - this is about a small handful of people trying to develop the land and make themselves personal fortunes at the expense of this community.
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Aug 24, 16 11:58 AM
Westhampton, and let them sit in traffic, and the Heliport in Southampton? That too! I live across the bay from it and it’s obscene, noise, and circling the bay, waiting to land. Don’t even want to go outside during the summer on Friday or Sunday.
By alhavel (50), Hampton Bays on Aug 24, 16 3:44 PM
Biden flew into Gabreski last time.

Close the airport- it only panders to the few. Make it a park and trails. If the local pilots (a very small number) had gotten behind sensible traffic and noise control early on, this whole mess could have been avoided. This is headed the way of Santa Monica, another small airport taken over by jet setters and select business interests...destined to be closed because those interests wouldn't listen to reason.
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Aug 24, 16 10:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
Great news!! No need to have an airport in East Hampton.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 24, 16 9:43 AM
The intransigence of airport users (and the fact that local airport users allied themselves with industrial users) made this eventuality inevitable. The larger group has thrown every obstacle it could into the path of noise reduction and made it ineffective, and the smaller group has betrayed its neighbors by affiliating itself with outsiders.

This dispute has coalesced into a simple question of OPEN or CLOSED. Given the wishes of the overwhelming majority of local residents, the airport ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 24, 16 10:46 AM
What a load of horse poo. Local pilots have been aware of QSC's and friends' goal to close the airport for years. They have repeatedly alternated between threatening us that they would close our airport if we didn't join their side and pretending to want to make friends (kind of like how a snake wants to be friends with a mouse). It has ALWAYS been inevitable, we just were waiting to see how long it would be before they removed their tattered sheep's clothing. Now at least the rest of the community ...more
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Aug 24, 16 12:08 PM
Money talks and HHS logic walks. The airport will remain open. Too much tax revenue and contributions to charitable causes will be lost if it is shut down.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Aug 26, 16 5:45 AM
To sell the airport which has been there for years, is insane the town will never afford to operate one anywhere else. For those homeowners that built there homes around the airport, which was there first, knew there was an airport, and that planes and helicopters would be coming and going from time to time. Since the state never finished the Sunrise Highway to East Hampton, the RICH have now found an alternate way to get to there summer homes. You can not live near an airport, landfill or RR ...more
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on Aug 24, 16 11:02 AM
Or on an oceanfront, with a 24/7 drive-on beach access and a designated picnic area. :)
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on Aug 25, 16 10:09 AM
Seriously?? They want to close the airport? An area that is already poorly servicd by mass transit and they want to close the airport so even MORE cars are on the road in and out of here?
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Aug 24, 16 12:42 PM
Private jets for the wealthy =/= "mass"transit , dude. Think before you post. Adding more cars to road-I mean, c'mon !?

Nobody here can justify the need to keep this dopey airport open
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Aug 26, 16 3:59 AM
Do you think the Ron Perlman and Woody Johnsons of the world are going to stay here if the airport is shut down? Do you think that will have an effect on the local economy? YOU should think before you post.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Aug 26, 16 5:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
So melodramatic!

The wealthy have always found a way to come to The Hamptons, even before helicopters became SOP. The LIRR had parlor cars, some of which included private compartments on the Cannonball trains on Friday afternoons (EB) and Monday mornings (WB).

With the MTA/LIRR recently announcing improved North Fork service, and the possibility of scoot trains for The East End, a resumption of the Cannonball express trains could become popular again.

"Build It And They ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 26, 16 6:48 AM
1 member liked this comment
So this is what it feels like if ROn Perlman and Woody Johnson don't come here? Huh. I think I'm going to make it.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 26, 16 7:17 AM
Raebeck also wants to close the family sports facility at EHIT. One would think that moving would solve his problems. I'm for a reduced-noise airport but never closing it. Find this guy a hobby.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Aug 24, 16 1:31 PM
NIMBY even though it was there long before any of these genuises moved to the neighborhood.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 24, 16 4:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
LocalEH's attitude epitomizes the solipsistic tunnel-vision of airport supporters generally. Her baseless conviction, often reiterated (that opponents were always really interested only in closing the airport rather than in mitigating the noise), and her utter refusal of compromise, has caused that conviction to become the reality that it needn't have been.

If only she and her colleagues had been reasonable (and good neighbors.)

Furthermore, the assertions that residents in the ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Aug 24, 16 5:34 PM
The people who live near Kennedy Airport are waiting on the results of this group so they can form a similar group to close Kennedy Airport because of the noise.

One resident near East Hampton Airport said that when they purchased their property near the airport, the only planes taking off and landing were the kind the Wright Brother's flew which were pedal powered and extremely quiet.
By deelove (152), Bridgehampton on Aug 24, 16 8:48 PM
I challenge anyone to explain why an airport is necessary in East Hampton, other than so aggressive, egotistical building contractors can show off for potential clients
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Aug 25, 16 5:46 AM
The airport used to be a small general aviation airport with a few small charter operations. Then it changed around 2007-8 with the onslaught of jets to big to fit, and an abundance of I have to get there now helicopters. The helicopters were the worst flying wherever and when ever they wanted. Time and time again the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council had the ability to speak with members and insist that they be respectful neighbors but instead fought back. Here we are. The gps route used to be ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Aug 25, 16 6:18 AM
You Quiet Skies people are apparently allergic to the facts and truth. Let me correct your wildly incorrect comment and revisionist history. The airport has NEVER been just a "small general aviation" airport. While it has been here for nearly a century, it was paved in the mid 1930's because the US government wanted to expand a network of airfields across the US. In the 40's it served as a military training field, among other things. There were extraordinarily loud P-47's, Hellcats, Wildcats, ...more
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Aug 25, 16 9:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
Local pilots lay down with commercial out-of-town chopper dogs.
Now complain about waking up with fleas!
Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle !!!
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Aug 25, 16 6:36 AM
All I know is this, the airport is an asset to the community. If the people opposed to it don't like they should raise the money and offer to BUY the property from the Town. If they don't want to put up the money then shut up and sit down or better yet MOVE.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Aug 26, 16 6:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
After "to the community." is where you were supposed to support your statement - not some ridiculous rant.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 26, 16 7:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Aug 26, 16 8:24 AM
Thirty years here and I don't feel that the noise is a world-ending, earth-shattering, non-stop, suicide-inducing problem; a few hours on Fridays and Sundays. I have never heard so much exaggeration. Best one one was that their pool was full of jet fuel from the planes! Really? This is not La Guardia, JFK or Islip no matter hard these groups try to define it. These people are more annoying than any planes flying over my house.
By Waincott Resident (42), Wainscott on Aug 26, 16 4:25 PM
2 members liked this comment
You have never "heard" so much exaggeration huh!? Read the first paragraph of what YOU wrote. If you read it aloud, you will have then heard "so much exaggeration"
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 27, 16 5:49 AM