East Hampton Town Airport is currently on schedule to close or be “deactivated” on May 17 at 11:59 p.m., and reopen on May 19 at 9 a.m. The focus is now on the details. The devil is always in the details.
East Hampton Supervisor Pete Van Scoyoc, during the Town Board Meeting this last week inferred that the new airport restrictions that will be introduced when the airport reopens on May 19 at 9 a.m. will not be etched in stone when he said, “but in the big picture (they) are subject to change.” He also said, “The proposed P.P.R (Prior Permission Required) regulations, we believe will have significant impact, and we’re going to study the actual impact of what we’re proposing. We can make adjustments to get the right balance.”
The new operating airport proposals along with curfews contain measures that may double or even triple fees for various airplanes. Opponents feel this is to drive off local aviators and usage of their planes at the airport. They are flustered because the small privately owned planes are not the aircraft making the noise that started this issue snowballing this last decade.
They, the opponents to changing the status quo of the airport, believe a minority with the loudest voices using effective politicking have won this decade long debate. The residents who through the years, called themselves the “anti-airport” faction have succeeded in changing the status quo. That status quo had a phenomenal safety record for both the planes, the passengers and the homes around the airport. In the end will the skies above their homes really be quiet under these new guidelines? Didn’t the “anti-airport” folks really want to actually shut down the airport all together? The East Hampton Town Board has decided to gamble on this new “private” airport strategy. Only time will tell if their decisions were wise.
East Hampton real estate agent, aviator and plane owner, Nancy Keeshan has some concerns and voiced them exclusively for Hamptons.com, “First of all, if the town is in fact working “collaboratively” with the FAA why do we have no knowledge or transcripts of such collaborative effort? When and where is this taking place?”
Then she addressed the issue of the new restrictions by saying, “The new restrictions and curfews as listed, will have a tremendous ripple effect. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, You can’t hold back the tide of people flowing in and out of the Hamptons. Peace and quiet and “serenity” in this neck of the woods is a thing of the past and restricting aircraft will not change that. As much as we’d all like it to go back to a sleepy beach town, it’s just not going to happen any time soon.”
To emphasize her point Ms. Keeshan went on to say, “Visitors no longer come here to get away from it all. They come here to get TO it all. Anyone who drives to work on Rt. 27 during the season can attest. The roads are loud and busy, bustling with people. Restrictions and curfews will accomplish only one thing, air traffic being diverted to neighboring airports. It will upset the balance of carefully engineered flight paths that have been in place for decades.”
Then addressing the aspect of this new arrangement being a plus for the town financially Ms. Keeshan said, “Lastly, I wonder where the funds will come from to sustain the airport. With limited air traffic and tight curfews will come limited funds even with higher landing fees. Unless, of course, there are no real plans to sustain it as an airport. That remains to be seen.”
So, it shall be interesting come Memorial Day weekend 2022 on May 27, 2022 when the seasonal fleet of private jets and helicopters start arriving at East Hampton Airport under the new management. The new administrators will have one week and one day to be prepared for the seasonal influx. Stay tuned.