Overnight Curfew Approved for Airport

The East Hampton Town Board voted unanimously on Tuesday night to enact an overnight curfew at East Hampton Airport, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and to extend that curfew from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. for planes that fall into a "noisy aircraft" category.

A limit on trips to the airport by noisy aircraft, at one takeoff and landing per week during the busy summer season, from May through September, was also enacted, in a 4-to-1 vote, with Councilman Fred Overton, the sole Republican on the board, dissenting.

Mr. Overton had said before the vote that the once-weekly trip limit was perhaps going too far too soon and that, though the town board has vowed to track the impacts of the new regulations and adjust them as needed, he was concerned that, politically, it would be impossible to repeal a restriction once it was put in place.

He acknowledged the work of the board and its advisory committees and consultants who compiled data on the airport and its noise issues, primarily from helicopters, as well as the effort to strike a balance between various interests such as residents seeking relief from aircraft noise and airport interests and users.

But he said he was not as convinced as the other board members that the weekly limit would "bring as many benefits" as surmised. It would, however, "seriously inconvenience many airport users," Mr. Overton said.

In addition, he said he was concerned about the impact on nearby airports of diverting aircraft traffic from East Hampton and about lawsuits challenging the laws. While litigation over the adopted airport regulations may be a given, he said, omitting the one trip a week maximum could "reduce our litigation exposure."

Members of the audience in favor of the new rules applauded after each vote and stood for a sustained ovation once the board had adopted all three.