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Mar 9, 2010 4:37 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Congressman Tim Bishop address Wainscott citizens' concerns

Mar 9, 2010 4:37 PM

U.S. Representative Tim Bishop outlined the ways in which he hoped to see some of the issues affecting the residents of Wainscott resolved when he appeared before the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee on Saturday.

Mr. Bishop, who focused on beach erosion and airport noise, said there were four paths to help the area recover from the severe erosion it has suffered in the long term, and especially after a nor’easter hit in November—the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Fire Island Montauk Point Reformulation Study, the creation of an Erosion Control District in the necessary hamlets, which would require private funding for repair that could possibly be matched by the federal government, and the personal advocacy of Mr. Bishop.

He said the path most likely to result in significant monetary aid for the area is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is already reviewing an application to declare the South Fork a disaster area after recent storms.

“The FEMA piece is most likely to see real results,” Mr. Bishop said. “That’s the one that has the most immediate potential.”

But he also cautioned that FEMA aid is not a long-term solution, and because of that, he is focusing his effort on the Fire Island Montauk Point Reformulation Study, which could start as soon as October 2011 and direct funds to the South Fork by 2012. The study is a joint effort of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior and aims to identify and evaluate long-term solutions to storm damage on land and homes from the Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point.

Mr. Bishop said the study is a long process in its nature with multiple steps including evaluation, a written report, and public comment on the report. He also said the fact that there are two unrelated and sometimes conflicting bodies as the lead agencies on one report tends to slow it down.

“You have to find the sweet spot between their at times conflicting imperatives,” he said.

Mr. Bishop said his role in the FIMP study will come into play when the agencies have completed the study and will turn to Congress for funding and cost-sharing partners. Mr. Bishop said the Army Corps will fund about 60 percent of the project and the rest will be in local contributions, which could include funding from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and county and local governments.

Mr. Bishop said he would like eliminate local governments from the responsibility of paying for the work because they often do not have the money and that holds up the process.

He is attempting to include wording in the Water Resources Development Act, which will be introduced in 2011, that would temporarily relieve local governments from the cost share, he said.

“Sometimes projects get halted because the local cost share does not have the money,” he said.

Mr. Bishop said that his goal is also to get the federal to focus more on eastern Long Island than Fire Island, which can take precedent because the Department of the Interior oversees the island.

Residents also asked Mr. Bishop about noise from planes and helicopters at East Hampton Airport, and he said he believes that the Federal Aviation Association has taken notice of the problem on Eastern Long Island and will work to resolve the issue.

A woman who lives in Northwest Woods complained that planes circle around her neighborhood unnecessarily when landing.

The path is called the “North Shore Route,” Mr. Bishop said, and it was developed to try to differentiate the route of the aircraft coming into the airport so that all the noise would not be concentrated in one area. Mr. Bishop said the logistics of the route keep aircraft traveling over water or woods when they come in for landings, but he said they have realized that noise problems arise when they cross back over more populated areas.

Robert Grotell, a transportation consultant who attended the CAC meeting, said the North Shore Route has been effective, but did have unforeseen side effects. He said the problem with the concentration of traffic in the transition areas is not going unnoticed. He said that in 2009, traffic along the North Shore Route was down 12 percent from 2008, but noise complaints were up more than 40 percent. Mr. Bishop said the complaints are not going unheard, and Mr. Grotell said there was “certainly” room for flexibility in the routes pilots take to the airport.

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The last paragraph has an error and must be corrected. My actual statement was that helicopter-related noise complaints were DOWN 40% at East Hampton Airport in 2009.

-- Robert Grotell, Special Advisor, ERHC
By ERHC (1), Port Jefferson on Mar 10, 10 12:41 PM
Thank you Mr. Grotell. The story has been corrected.
By BOReilly (135), 27east Web Editor on Mar 10, 10 1:33 PM
Aren't there more important concerns than helicopter noise in our district? Mr Bishop certainly knows how to cater to the wealthy within his district.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Mar 11, 10 4:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
I live in one of the areas affected by the noise -and enjoying the peaceful outside area our modest home in Sag Harbor is impossible from May to October when the parade of planes and helicopters go overhead. I commend Congressman Bishop for being involved because the Town of EH doesn't care. Lastly, I don't believe the 40% figure quoted by the "consultant"; the shear volume of noise gets worse each year, not better.
By SagHarborBob (91), Sag Harbor on Mar 11, 10 7:40 AM
Your "modest home" in sag harbor probably costs well over half-a-million dollars, doesn't it? You've got enough money that helicopter noise is a problem to your family, and not keeping food on the table, or a roof over your head. Some of us have other problems, REAL problems, which are not being addressed in lieu of this ridiculous grandstanding.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Mar 20, 10 2:04 AM
Funny Mr. Bishop has never spoken to the Springs Citizen Advisory Committe. I think its kind of interesting to see the kind of influence that money can buy. I hardly think that beach erosion and East Hampton airport noise really matter to those who cannot make a living and live out here.
By easthampsta (4), East Hampton on Mar 16, 10 9:39 PM
As a year round resident of Wainscott, and one who lives near 27, I think there are several noise issues, the planes being just one. The other more pressing issue for me is the construction noise coming from Wainscott Sand & Gravel. They start their pile driving machine and earth moving machine noise at 6 am or shortly afterwards, even on Saturday mornings. All day it is a constant loud hammering noise and beeping. The town ordinance says they are allowed to start at 7 am, but I believe that ...more
By Barbara Wainscott (5), Wainscott on Sep 15, 10 8:36 AM