East Hampton Town’s Airport Master Plan has been upheld by the New York State Supreme Court, which dismissed a suit brought by a group of neighbors who alleged the plan did little to address airport noise when it was revised along with the airport layout plan in 2010.
In a press release issued last week by the East Hampton Aviation Association, last Thursday the Wainscott based group praised the court, calling this “a landmark decision.”
According to the Aviation Association, the court’s 11-page decision upholding the master plan and the airport layout plan will allow the town to move forward with the repairs at the airport to upgrade the facility without expansion.
“The Airport Master Plan and Layout Plan are not in full force and effect,” said Tom Twomey, director of the East Hampton Aviation Association and a voluntary member of its legal committee. “It is the law in East Hampton. It provides for the repair of the runway. Now, we urge the town to proceed with the repair of the runway without further delay.”
Runway 4-22 has been in need of repair since 1989. Pilots have long complained that the short runway is critical for small planes to make safe landings.
“We congratulate the town on this final vindication of the town’s 20 year effort to increase safety and reduce noise at the East Hampton Airport,” said Margie Saurenman, the association’s vice president.
The Committee to Stop Airport Expansion along with a handful of residents filed suit over the master plan in November 2010, just two months after the plan was adopted by the town board. The suit contended the town did not study noise comprehensively in its environmental review of the master plan, that it used standards that could not adequately assess noise and failed to take into account the literal thousands of noise complaints logged with the town.
On Tuesday, East Hampton attorney Jeffrey Bragman, who represents the plaintiffs, said the group was assessing its options, but that it was likely an appeal would be filed.
“We remain concerned about the fact that the town deliberately selected a noise standard that when you plug in the numbers shows no noise expect within the boundaries of the airport,” said Bragman. “The town’s own expert has said if you only used that standard it would produce irrational results.”
In other airport news, the East Hampton Aviation Association released another statement showing the results of its poll of town residents on whether or not the current town board should accept funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Critics — particularly members of the Quiet Skies Coalition (QSC) — have argued that if the town board does take more FAA funding it will lose the right to have real control over the airport. In 2014, when some of the FAA grant assurances expire, QSC members have argued the town could impose curfews or limit certain kinds of aircrafts in an effort to reduce noise at the airport that has plagued residents of both East Hampton and Southampton for the last decade.
According to the East Hampton Aviation Association, 300 people were polled by the Potholm Group of Maine in April with 88 percent stating they believed the town should take FAA funding to repair runways and taxiways with 77 percent stating they would like to see the funding used for noise abatement.