For years in East Hampton, NY an extremely vocal minority of residents in and around the East Hampton Airport has led a campaign against the aviation community. The goal of the campaign was simple: seize control of the airport and ultimately to ban operations into and out of the airport.
In response the Friends of East Hampton Airport (FOEHA) have been working tirelessly to find an amicable solution that will preserve safe and equal access to East Hampton Airport for the aviation community while working to resolve complaints from the community related to noise.
Last month the Town Board proposed four resolutions that will severely impact the aviation community that uses East Hampton Airport. This set of unlawful and unconstitutional measures to restrict access to East Hampton Airport and our airways included:
- A ban on helicopters from noon on Thursday to noon on Tuesday during the summer
- A mandatory nighttime curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
- An extended curfew on noisy aircrafts from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m.
- A limit on operations by noisy aircraft of one trip per week during the summer
Despite our best efforts to find a solution that benefits all involved parties, the Town of East Hampton voted in favor of passing all restrictions with the exception of banning helicopters. These restrictions will have a devastating impact to the aviation community and cause irreparable damage to neighboring communities and their own airports.
While the Town’s decision to implement these backwards and illegal restrictions is not surprising, it is certainly disappointing.
As a result of the Town’s action, FOEHA filed suit against the town to address the restrictions they have imposed which are both illegal and unconstitutional. Our coalition is committed to preserving East Hampton Airport’s vitality and accessibility to the public. We do not take legal action lightly and wish the town had left us with other alternatives however after months of trying, we were left with no other recourse. It is deeply unfortunate that we are forced to sue to stop the Town’s actions.
As we move forward with this lawsuit and prepare to defend and preserve our right to free and open skies and oppose these unlawful restrictions, we need your help more than ever.
Here are three ways you can help.
- First, click the link to sign the petition to keep the East Hampton Airport open: http://www.petitions.moveon.org/sign/keep-the-east-hampton/
- Second, the elected officials in East Hampton as well as in Washington, DC need to hear your voice and understand the importance and the precedence that these bans represent or our community.
- Third, we need your financial support. By making a donation to our not for profit, “Friends of East Hampton Airport”, your donation will help pay for legal, public rations and lobbying efforts to combat these unlawful and illegal restrictions. We cannot do it without your help. You can donate at http://www.savehto.org
We ask for your continued support in our effort to ensure East Hampton Airport remains free and open for years to come. This is our time to take actionable steps to reclaim our right to the skies.
Jeffery Smith, VP Operations & Governmental Affairs, Eastern Region Helicopter Council
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