When FAA grant assurances pertaining to the airport proprietor's rights expired at the end of 2014, the Town of East Hampton appointed several committees to identify ways to address noise caused by airport operations and to ascertain whether or not the airport could be financially sustainable without additional FAA subsidies.
An enormous body of work was undertaken, presented to the public and made available on the town site: http://ehamptonny.gov/HtmlPages/Airport/AirportHome.htm
Curfews and access restrictions NO LONGER IN EFFECT (SEE BELOW***)
Finally, in 2015, the Town of East Hampton adopted four laws intended to provide meaningful noise relief, while minimizing both the impact on users and any potential diversion of traffic to other airports:
· Local Law #3 calls for a mandatory nighttime curfew, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
· Local Law #4 calls for an extended curfew on noisy* aircraft, from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m.
· Local Law #5 calls for a limit on noisy aircraft to one trip – a single landing and takeoff each week during the summer season.
· Local Law #7 refines the penalties provision and definitions and codifies the Town’s intent to evaluate the effectiveness of the restrictions.
* Noisy aircraft are defined at:
On April 29, 2015, a group representing aviation interests filed a legal action in federal court, seeking to delay the implementation of the Local Laws.
In June 2015, a judge issued a preliminary injunction against Local Law #5 (the one-trip-per-week restriction on noisy aircraft). That was the one restriction which would have provided the most relief from noise.
On June 26th, 2015, the court affirmed the right of the Town of East Hampton to regulate airport noise. Enforcement of three local laws began on July 2, 2015.
In November, 2016, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals smacked down all restrictions, denying the town local control of its airport, eliminating the town's attempts to curtail noise. That ruling demonstrates why it is absolutely necessary to close the airport as soon as possible.
In November 2016, the town requested a hearing of the case by the US Supreme Court and, in March 2017, the petition by the town was filed.
We await more information as to whether the Supreme Court will even hear the case, but that decision likely will not be made known for several months.
In the meantime, with the 2017 season soon upon us, the airport is once again under federal control witrh no restrictions or curfews of any kind.
It is now open season on thousands of residents from NYC to the East End.
Objections to restrictions
A group calling itself "Friends" of the East Hampton Airport, and others with aviation interests, have filed a total of seven lawsuits against the Town of East Hampton. Decisions are pending on those lawsuits.
In 2015, aviation industry contributors poured close to $400,000 into the coffers of candidates running for election to the East Hampton Town Board; those candidates supported aviation industry demands. It was the largest sum of contributions ever raised for a local election in East Hampton. However, the residents of the town soundly defeated the industry’s attempt to buy control of the airport and the town.
Among others who oppose restrictions on aviation operations is a local group which continues to advocate for the town to accept additional FAA funding. All FAA subsidies are accompanied by a set of ironclad rules known as "grant assurances", which would again prevent the town from enacting local control of its airport for as long as 20 years. The town would again be required to keep the airport open 24/7/365, without restrictions of any kind for the length of the subsidy agreement, ceding proprietor's rights and accepting federal control of its airport.
Emergency Services for the Town of East Hampton
One of the frequent objections raised to closing the town's airport is that there is a need for emergency services operations. Such services are usually provided by helicopters which can and do regularly land at nearby Havens Beach, for example, or at Foster Memorial (Long Beach, Noyac) and other locations.
A small area at the airport could be reserved for the exclusive use of emergency services, which could include a helicopter pad, similar to that in Southampton Town.
Nearby airports and helipads
Airports abound on Long Island. According to Wikipedia, Long Island continues to have a disproportionate number of airports in comparison to its physical size
(approx. 1,400 square miles). Within 30 miles of KHTO, recreational pilots have a choice of two airports; both are closer to East Hampton than the distances many of us regularly drive to medical appointments in Stony Brook!
1. Montauk Airport, Town of East Hampton, a small privately-owned airport used primarily by recreational pilots and which can be approached from the water. http://www.airnav.com/airport/kmtp
2. Gabreski Airport, Town of Southampton offers all aviation services and amenities. http://www.airnav.com/airport/KFOK
3. Southampton Helipad. Town of Southampton
Past and recent events have demonstrated that as long as KHTO remains an airport, the expansion of the airport and the demands of the aviation industry will continue.
The Town of East Hampton
Town Hall, East Hampton