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Commercial Helicopter Operations Continue

This weekend’s weather was picture perfect. The noise around the airport was unusually quiet and I really enjoyed and appreciated where I lived. Time seemed to be rolled back to earlier times when the East Hampton Airport was a private airport with operations carried on by private aircraft owner. Don’t get me wrong, we heard planes take off and land, there was an occasional helicopter that we heard in the distance but there was not the continuous onslaught of helicopters, one after the other flying extremely low over our house blasting us with low frequency percussive noise at 80-90dB.

Until…Sunday afternoon. The peace and quiet we experienced Saturday and most of Sunday was shattered at 3:45pm; 4:04pm; 4:49pm; 4:50pm; 5:02pm; 5:05pm; 5:28pm; 6:57pm. The sound levels ranged between 77dB- 85dB. The helicopters flew very low over the house. I did not capture the first helicopter on video but the remainder can be viewed below.

To put the video in perspective, my house is located 1.3 miles north of the airport. By no stretch of the imagination do I live next to the airport. I am located almost by Rt. 114. At the public hearing it was reported that there was 80% compliance to the voluntary noise abatement minimum altitude of 2,500 feet. As can be seen in the video there is 100% non-compliance to the minimum altitude.

Please pay attention to the first helicopter in this video series. It is flying very slowly at the same time it is descending to an altitude of a few hundred feet as it goes over the house. That descent is occurring 1.3 miles before it reaches the airport.

This series of videos over a short period of time represents the intense impact of the commercial operation of helicopters on residential properties in the residential zoning district. Allowing these commercial operations over the residential district nullifies any attempt by zoning to separate commercial use from residential districts. The Town of East Hampton must address vertical separation of uses in its zoning laws.

The Town officials state they cannot control where helicopters fly or at what altitude. The Town however allows these commercial operations to land and use Town owned property. If the Town prohibited the landing of commercial operators of helicopters then the helicopters would not fly over the residential district since they would not fly at all. This is all very, very simple. What doesn’t the Town Board understand about this issue?

Frank

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