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Nov 15, 2011 5:07 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Will Hold Hearing On Requesting Federal Airport Grant

Nov 15, 2011 5:31 PM

The East Hampton Town Board will hold a hearing on Thursday, December 1, on the prospect of requesting a Federal Aviation Administration grant to pay for a new deer fence around East Hampton Airport.

The proposal has angered anti-noise activists who have long opposed the town accepting new federal funds for capital improvements to the airport. This week, they charged that the Town Board’s decision to pursue the grant is an attempt to settle the debate before new Town Board members take office in January 2012.

The hearing, which was proposed by Councilman Dominick Stanzione, will be held at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

The Town Board has been allowed to apply for FAA grants since the agency conditionally approved the town’s Airport Layout Plan in September. The anti-noise activists, who 
formed an advocacy group called the Quiet Skies Coalition in August, have been urging the town to reject FAA grants because they come with 20-year grant obligations that do not allow the town to impose local restrictions on flights, like curfews and bans on certain aircraft.

The Town Board’s interest in a new deer fence comes after at least one incident in which an aircraft hit deer on a runway at the airport. A small plane struck three deer while landing in August. No one on board was injured.

Kathy Cunningham, a member of the executive board of the Quiet Skies Coalition, said the Town Board’s proposed request for an FAA grant is really a bid to end the debate over whether the town should accept federal funds and the grant obligations that come with them.

“It’s not about the fence,” she said. “It’s about local control. That’s the deal. If you take 
FAA money, no more local control, and it’s not about the fence.”

Ms. Cunningham also saw the move in the context of last week’s election. Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc, the two Democrats who won seats on the Town Board on Election Day and will take office next year, pledged to not support accepting any FAA grants for two years or until some of the grant restrictions in place expire. During the interim, they hope to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the airport. Zachary Cohen, who challenged Supervisor Bill Wilkinson this year, made the same pledge; the supervisor’s race is still up in the air pending a count of absentee ballots. If Mr. Cohen wins, the Democrats will take the majority from the Republicans, who support accepting FAA grants.

“I think it’s also a desperation move because Wilkinson may not win this race,” Ms. Cunningham said. “It’s unclear at this point whether Cohen wins or Wilkinson wins. If Cohen wins, that deer fence isn’t going up with FAA money and that’s clear, so I think they’re pre-empting the potential of a new administration to take control of the airport.”

Charles Ehren, another member of the executive board of the Quiet Skies Coalition, agreed.

“The airport interests and Mr. Stanzione and Mr. Wilkinson are eager to lock in another 20 years of FAA limits on local control,” he said.

Ms. Cunningham also questioned the need for requesting an FAA grant for the deer fence, saying the airport has $1.5 million in surplus.

Mr. Stanzione did not return a call seeking comment on Tuesday.

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This is a new low for an East Hampton politician. Back where we come from good old boys like Stanzione and Wilkinson would be exposed and voted out of office.
Oh, wait a minute. That's happening HERE ain't it?
By we could run this town! (129), the oceanfront trailer park on Nov 16, 11 5:17 AM
2 members liked this comment
I am a pilot and also a Republican. What Wilkinson and Stanzione are doing is as dirty as dirty politics gets. The people have spoken. Railroading a resolution to accept FAA money now will bury the Republican Party in East Hampton forever. Wilkinson and Stanzione are newbies...they don't know what killed Republicans in the past...political cronyism.
By Speed (4), Wainscott on Nov 16, 11 6:46 AM
A "pilot?" Really?!!? Ha!! You're fooling no one....save one.

By Pippy (7), Southampton on Nov 18, 11 10:42 PM
One thing is certain, if Wilkinson and cronies get their way for a deer fence, expansion plans already laid out will shortly follow. The East End may end up looking like the Jersey Shore. East Enders on many much earlier occasions successfully fought off developers seeking to turn the East End into their dollar vision of paradise. Let us fervently hope that this time the "locals" will again come out in force, and they must, to voice what they appear to have said at the election---no more FAA money. ...more
By Trish (91), Sag Harbor on Nov 16, 11 7:16 AM
The proper thing for the EH Town Board to do would be to postpone this hearing until later in January, so that the will of the voters may be heard through the recently elected Board members.

A refusal to delay the hearing will demonstrate, once and for all, that the Board is NOT interested in democracy, but rather in fiddling while Rome burns (metaphorically speaking that is).

The future of the East Hampton airport affects ALL East End communities, especially the residents of eastern ...more
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Nov 16, 11 8:20 AM
Hey ya'll. We're postin this from the library acuzz we don't have the internets at the trailer park. But what we found is that those Quiet Sky folks is pretty edumicated about all this. To get the down low on all this you got have a computer. Then you gotta put alla your W's in. Then quietskiescoalition. Then a dot. Then org. This computer stuff is pretty neat!
By we could run this town! (129), the oceanfront trailer park on Nov 16, 11 9:27 AM
I have never used the East Hampton airport, but have a few questions. How come this article makes no reference to the expert the town hired who said there is no proof that refusing FAA funds allows the town to take local control? Where is that caveat in the story and why don't people listen to the person who is one of the foremost experts in the country on the topic (it would be fair reporting to note that the town has researched whether taking FAA funds will allow it to gain more control --- and ...more
By voter1180 (2), East Hampton on Nov 16, 11 9:40 AM
Hundreds of thousands of folks on Long Island are assaulted and tormented by noise as one helicopter flies to East Hampton Airport to let one person out. This happens all day long on summer weekends. Isn't that the real problem? You are intellectually dishonest to say it is about folks that live near the airport. As helicopter transportation increases this is a growing problem all over the world. It is not sustainable. The will of the people will prevail.
By Speed (4), Wainscott on Nov 17, 11 8:07 AM
iif deer are a real problem, control them. wasn't that the purpose of the deer summit held two years ago? putting a fence around the airport is a joke.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Nov 16, 11 10:26 AM
To voter 1180 I can only say this....is Noyac or Roses Grove or North Sea near the EHA? No, they are in Southampton Town. How about Southold, Mattituck, they're on the Nork Fork. and Shelter Island? Should no one have bought or built homes in these areas? How far then do you think the realm of the EH Airport and current EH Town insiders extend? Should it be EH "controlled" air space all the way to the other "metropolitain" airposts in Islip, and la Guardia and JFK? To maybe Teterborough and ...more
By Trish (91), Sag Harbor on Nov 16, 11 10:43 AM
I actually do hope they can find a way to cut down the noise. The increased amount must be a nuisance and I am glad I don't live in the typical flight path and I'm sorry so many people are affected by it.

What I don't like is the people making a case to completely shut down the airport (that would be a blow to the east end's economy). There is no proof that refusing funds will give the town control of airspace. So basically they are asking the town to give up free money for a pipe dream. ...more
By voter1180 (2), East Hampton on Nov 16, 11 11:20 AM
Why should any taxpayer, federal or local pay for the airport? Shouldn't the folks that use it, pay for it? Mr. Rennert paid $32 Million for the "Helibus" which is one of two helicopters he flies several times a day to fill up his mega mansion. Why doesn't he pay for the airport? Isn't that the real issue? Why doesn't he fly over his own house? He doesn't even fly at the recommended altitude. Why doesn't he charter a bus? Wouldn't that take less time, a heck of a lot less money and pollution? Isn't ...more
By Speed (4), Wainscott on Nov 17, 11 7:51 AM
Nobody has problems with small private aircraft. It's the proliferation of loud larger jets and helicopters. I doubt most property owners anticipated that EH Airport would become one end of a shuttle service. Every once in a while a jet flies over my home in the Northwest and the house shakes terribly. I can't imagine having to deal with this multiple times a day. Hard to believe that a fair solution can't be achieved by reasonable people.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Nov 16, 11 11:38 AM
2 members liked this comment
Also to voter 1180:
A few comments about your very valid questions. I have reviewed data by both the Town's hired gun, a "Mr Kirsh" and the Washington based attorney who appeared at the Quiet Skies coalition informational meeting last month, a "Ms Jones."
If you study the comments by both it should be fairly obvious that local control CAN be gained by not accepting new grant assurances. It is in no way a "pipe dream" as you refer to it and has been done elsewhere. There is an established ...more
By Amelia Airport (48), East Hampton on Nov 16, 11 12:48 PM
Editor Shaw and Mr. James,

Thank you for the fine reporting on this and many other issues.

Is it factually accurate that the EH airport has a significant surplus in its budget (assuming this line item has not been robbed by Peter to pay Paul) and could therefore pay for the deer fence, as ineffectual as it might be (!!!)? Please confirm.

If there is indeed a surplus in the airport budget, why must we endure the smoke-screens lighted by others about the need for FAA funding, ...more
By Nero (301), Sag Harbor on Nov 16, 11 7:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
The deer fence never worked. It is a joke and it never will work. Every evening there used to be 30-40 deer around the runways. Airport personnel used to chase deer with a golf cart. When landing we used to make a low pass down the runway, then circle around to make a safe landing. Nothing worked until the Town hired a guy to kill all the deer around the airport. Wouldn't it make more sense to hire this guy back and donate the venison to the EH Food Pantry? What are the folks running this Town thinking?
By Speed (4), Wainscott on Nov 17, 11 8:20 AM
It seems fairly clear that they are thinking only of campaign promises to wealthy donors and not about the future of our town. There is no way to predict how much "commuter," "sightseeing," and other unnecessary and noisy air traffic will increase over the next 20 years. This very poor idea could dramatically change how East Hampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor and Sagaponack look and sound in the future. With no means of control these thoughtless pols are handing away our quality of life. For the ...more
By Amelia Airport (48), East Hampton on Nov 17, 11 11:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
We ran into some Republican friends of ours over at the still last night. They was really sore about the election results. They was wondering why they got hammered so bad. Jethro asked 'em how folks could possibly trust 'em when the pull stuff like this? Heck, I think you gotta guard your chicken coop with the shotgun when fellas like Stanzione and Wilkinson is around.
By Amelia Airport (48), East Hampton on Nov 17, 11 12:30 PM
What’s the urgency with the deer fence at the airport? What is so special about the few people using the airport that they deserve more protection from deer than the rest of us? There have been only three deer strike incidents recorded in 10 years at that airport. Over the past few weeks there have been eight separate deer strike incidents on roads in East Hampton, now that’s pretty serious but I don’t see the witless wonder currently sitting in the supervisor’s seat at ...more
By Trish (91), Sag Harbor on Nov 17, 11 12:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
I can't remember when such a "shove it down their throats" attitude was so visible in any East End politics! Playing the FAA card is a losing hand in political poker....... Oh that's right - they lost!

By SagHarborBob (91), Sag Harbor on Nov 17, 11 1:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
I just to ride a horse behind the airport. they have put up 12' fence along the southern end for about at la=east 20 yesrs and now need more???? the REAL airport corridor is up by the high tension wires NOT over the villages of Sagapoack and Bridgehampton who along with Water Mill, seem to get the brunt of the noise. I have horses in Bridgehampton village and hear and watch the jets go over my paddocks on a VERY regular basis on weekends. If east Hampton wants an airport let the lanes and jets ...more
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Nov 22, 11 9:05 PM
New article not yet posted above:

http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/General-Interest/406787/Stanzione-Welcomes-Airport-Debate

"Welcomes Debate" indeed!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 22, 11 9:09 PM