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The Number One Environmental Problem For the East End – Letter to East Hampton Town Board, July 26, 2014

To all:

Please find below a letter I have submitted for publication in next week’s Star and Sag Harbor Express.

Thank you for monitoring the alarming airport debacle–as operations and their invasive impact grow apace. And I know that many of you are as concerned as I and do genuinely want a solution.

Note: a) an eloquent letter in this week’s Star from a beleaguered village resident whose dog won’t even go outside anymore, b) front page story in the Sag Harbor Express as their CAC is shouting for relief, c) an email I received from a homeowner on Bull Path who bought his house because it was on a “quiet street” that is quiet no longer, d) two friends in the past six months who have sold their homes and moved to Virginia to get away from airport noise, e) three large jets in ten minutes over Amagansett last evening setting their descent. And f) for the Raebecks and thousand of our neighbors and fellow East End residents: an endless onslaught of one loud and noxious aircraft after another–often within 30 seconds, day and night. Nothing like this was happening even five years ago. The profiteers have taken our once-wonderful outdoor summer away.

I harken back to a point made previously: if the airport did not exist and anyone proposed its creation there is no way we would allow it to happen. We all know it. So let’s beware of  “modifications” that essentially kowtow to the perpetrators, while we collect “data”. This is a looming disaster for East Hampton and the East End. Let’s take a vote of all East End residents. The electoral “data”, will show that our airport is hardly perceived as a wonderful boon to the East End–despite the nonsensical propaganda from the perpetrators.

I also noted when we founded QSC several years ago now that 1) the problem will only get worse if not addressed–and it surely has gotten much worse, and 2) any problem can be solved. Tinkering with curfews (who wants more flights in the day, for goodness sake?) and curtailing flight numbers (somewhat) is not going to solve this problem.

The problem will be solved by eliminating all commercial operations at the airport and returning it to one of primarily recreational and private aircraft use. Otherwise it must be closed. This community will not even blink, but it will breathe a huge collective sigh of relieved thanks.

Barry R

Letter:

Dear Editor:

The helicopter operators are feeling threatened. Their website Friends of the East Hampton Airport is a marvel of duplicity. Unsurprisingly no person is listed on the site as a representative, yet one “contact” phone number is traceable to a “Jeffrey P. Smith” of Rahway NJ. Might we assume that this is the Jeffrey Smith who acts as a spokesperson for the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council, and is also a helicopter pilot?

His site makes several outlandish claims: “Tens of thousands per year use the airport to visit their vacation homes”. Well, not if you count multiple flights, Mr. Smith. There are perhaps 60-70 fancy vehicles parked (for free) during the week at the airport. But I suspect that tens of thousands of helicopter flights per summer is your goal.

“Since it first opened (in 1937), the airport has been an indispensable (italics mine) source of commerce for local businesses in the Hamptons and surrounding areas.” Until five years ago helicopter service to EH was a fraction of what it is today. Was East Hampton in the grips of a depression until then? Is an increase in the number of wealthy people the great priority here? Aren’t thousands of airport opponents perfectly well off too?

“Noise complaints have fallen each year for the past three years.” On Memorial Day weekend alone there were over 1000 documented complaints–and from virtually every region of both forks of the East End and Shelter Island. If there is such widespread love for our airport, why the need for such propaganda?

“The reality is with no Airport; fewer people will buy homes, visit and spend money in the Hamptons. Eventually real estate values will decrease, restaurants will suffer and costs for everyone else will increase.” Yes, and then the finally quiet sky will fall, and Armageddon ensue. Ban helicopters–and run for your lives!

Barry Raebeck

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