Demonstrators were at East Hampton Airport on Friday afternoon to call attention to the noise generated there and its effect on South Fork residents.
More than 30 residents and members of the Quiet Skies Coalition from Sag Harbor, Springs, East Hampton, Wainscott, and Noyac, carried signs and stood along the road and at the tarmac edge, hoping to raise the awareness of passengers and pilots that the noise from helicopters, jets, and seaplanes disturbs those living near and under flight paths.
Among the protestors were residents of the Sag Harbor Hills neighborhood, which is experiencing increased air traffic due to a new departure route being used to relieve air traffic over Noyac. In a Quiet Skies Coalition press release, Becky Young said, “The air traffic over our neighborhood has increased so much that it has negatively impacted our quality of life. We’d consider selling the house, but this air traffic has decreased the value of our home,” she said.
“Route distribution is a losing strategy, as the basic choice is to decide into which of your neighbors’ yards you’re going to throw your trash,” Kathleen Cunningham, the chairwoman of the Quiet Skies Coalition, said in the release.
“The only effective noise mitigation plan is to limit access to East Hampton Airport,” she said. “Without meaningful access limits, someone is always going to be victimized by uncontrolled aircraft noise.”
The organization has been pressing the East Hampton Town Board to stop accepting Federal Aviation Administration money and to allow existing agreements with the agency over airport operation to expire. Then, they have said, the town would be able to impose use limits, including curfews, and even be able to ban the noisiest aircraft. The degree to which federal regulations would allow local autonomy over such decisions has been a matter of debate.
A survey of the candidates for East Hampton Town Board regarding airport noise will be released soon, the Quiet Skies Coalition has announced.