FAA Forum on North Shore Helicopter Route Next Wednesday

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A small private plane taxis on the runway as a helicopter takes off overhead at the East Hampton Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration will hold a forum on a North Shore helicopter route into airports on the East End on Wednesday, November 14, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Riverhead Middle School on Harrison Avenue in Riverhead.

According to a notice issued by the FAA, the forum will use “a workshop format” with several stations covering aspects of the helicopter route, staffed by FAA experts. There will not be a public hearing at the forum and no formal presentations will be made by the federal agency, although there will be a station where residents can submit a written statement for the formal record. Last week, the FAA opened a 60-day public comment period on the helicopter route — required by legislation crafted by Congressman Lee Zeldin that was enacted in October as a part of the FAA reauthorization bill.

Comments can be submitted through January 2. No public hearing has been scheduled yet, which Mr. Zeldin said in a statement he would fight for.

“My North Shore Helicopter Route legislation is the law of the land, and the FAA must abide by that,” said Mr. Zeldin. “As the details of the FAA’s public comment process come together, I will continue to hold their feet to the fire to ensure that every last voice is heard. The law requires a public hearing and public comment session. A workshop idea can very well compliment a public hearing, but there’s no way it can or will be in lieu of a public hearing to receive oral testimony. That’s not an option by law, by me, and for many others. The best path forward is an all water route over the Atlantic Ocean and it will be most important for impacted residents to submit oral and/or written testimony throughout this upcoming public comment period to ensure that this North Shore Helicopter Route is reassessed and a better bath forward is pursued.”

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