Seaplanes Cause Commotion in North Haven

Anthony Caron, right, discusses seaplanes with the North Haven Village Board on Tuesday. Christine Sampson photo

A few North Haven Village residents on Tuesday appealed to their village board of trustees for relief from noise generated by the landings and takeoffs of seaplanes, which they said are happening more often in the last few weeks than ever before.

Jonathan McCann and Anthony Coron were among those who said the noise has been disruptive and the seaplanes pose safety risks to swimmers and boaters using the same waters.

“They’re landing on the beach,” Mr. McCann said. “There are three or four that come in every day.”

Mr. Coron said “the idea of a machine coming right up to the beach like that is insane.” Calling the seaplanes “a wise-guy operation,” he said, “You can’t just put a mooring anywhere you want, somebody has to be in charge … we have to put in some reasonable regulation.”

Mayor Jeff Sander said the village board was trying to get clarification from the East Hampton Airport and the Sag Harbor harbormaster regarding seaplane regulations.

According to U.S. Coast Guard regulations, seaplanes are considered vessels once they land in water, and must then adhere to standard boating rules — although “collision avoidance” is placed upon the pilots of the planes.

“There is a designated area where they’re supposed to land, out toward Shelter Island, but then they can taxi in,” Mr. Sander said. “I don’t know if there are any restrictions on where they can land, how often they can land, or what times they can land. It could potentially be a major problem.”

He pledged to follow up. “We will find out, and if we have the ability to regulate it we will address that. … The safety aspect is a real one, ” he said.

In other North Haven news, the board held a hearing — during which no one spoke — on a code amendment limiting the height of flat-roofed houses in the village. The change reduces the maximum height from 35 feet to 28 feet for flat-roofed houses on properties of 40,000 square feet or more; 26 feet for such houses on properties of between 20,000 and 40,000 square feet; and 23 feet for flat-roofed houses on properties of 20,000 square feet or less. It was unanimously adopted.

The board also agreed to give rebates to homeowners on private roads who do not benefit from the village’s leaf pickup, and discussed how to spread the tax burden for leaf pickup on those left footing the bill. A public hearing on the matter will be planned.

The board also set a hearing on its fire protection contract with the Sag Harbor Village Fire Department for October 2 at 5 p.m. at village hall. The trustees changed the date of their regular November meeting, from November 6 to November 13, to avoid a conflict with Election Day.