Government Briefs 05.29.14

Local government notes

East Hampton Town
Push for Airport Noise Complaints

With the summer season under way at East Hampton Airport, the Quiet Skies Coalition issued a press release this week urging “aircraft-noise-affected residents” to log complaints by calling the aircraft noise complaint line at 800-476-4817, or posting complaints online at plane­noise.com/khto.

After reviewing a report recently issued to the East Hampton Town Board by a business and finance advisory committee subgroup that analyzed the airport finances, Quiet Skies applauded the work of the group, which determined that the airport could be maintained and operated without Federal Aviation Administration money.

The determination, Kathleen Cunningham, the Quiet Skies Coalition director, said in the release, will “pave the way for the town board to act on its intention to reduce the impacts of aircraft on the community by limiting access to East Hampton Airport,” once a set of obligations to the F.A.A., which come with accepting federal money, expires at the end of the year. The Quiet Skies Coalition, she said, “has long supported the safe operation of [East Hampton Airport], but not at the expense of the noise-affected.”

Suffolk County
Water Pollution Video Contest

Suffolk County is sponsoring a contest to select a TV spot and a short video that would educate the public about nitrogen pollution and the ways that individuals can help improve water quality.

In announcing a Reclaim Our Water initiative and SepticSmart program, County Executive Steve Bellone called an increase of nitrogen pollution in ground and surface waters from septic systems and cesspool pollution “alarming,” and said it is “leading toward an ecological collapse.” He said “immediate and decisive action” is needed.

Videos should be one to three minutes long, and TV spots, 30 or 60 seconds. Suggested topics include ways to reduce polluted runoff into ground and surface waters, new septic waste processing technologies, the importance of wetlands, and marine debris prevention. Six winning videos and three “honorable mention” entries will be chosen to be featured on the county website and screened at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington in September during a SepticSmart week. The creators will receive prizes.

Entries must be submitted by Aug. 1. Complete information is available on the county website, on a “CrapSHOOT video contest” page.    

New York State
C.P.F. Revenues Spike

Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund revenues for the first quarter of the year are up almost 13 percent over last year.

The 2-percent tax on most real estate transfers, approved in 1999 by the voters in five East End towns to establish a pool of money for open space, farmland, and historic preservation, generated more than $29 million in the first four months of 2014, on 2,446 transactions, and $7.8 million in April alone, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. reported in a press release. Last year, there were 2,767 real estate transactions subject to the tax in the first quarter of the year.

In East Hampton, first-quarter 2014 revenues were $7.9 million, compared to $7.3 million during the same period last year. Since its inception, the transfer tax has generated more than $914 million for preservation in the region. Mr. Thiele noted in his release that last year was the second-largest year for C.P.F. revenues, exceeded only by 2007.

Federal
Seek Copter Route Re-Up

A requirement that helicopters flying between New York City and the East End follow an over-water route off Long Island’s north shore is due to expire in August, but state elected officials are lobbying for the rule, put into place by the Federal Aviation Administration two years ago, to be made permanent.

The mandatory route was established for a trial period to address increasing complaints by Long Island residents about helicopter noise.

On Tuesday, Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Tim Bishop urged Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and F.A.A. Administrator Michael Huerta to not only establish the mandatory route permanently, but also to expand it to require helicopters to follow a total over-water route, and to go around Orient Point and Shelter Island when landing at South Fork airports. They also suggested modifications designed to have helicopters avoid a few problem areas on Nassau County’s north shore.