Before the packed public aircraft noise meeting held by the East Hampton Town Board in Wainscot on Wednesday, August 24, a smaller gathering of pubic officials met representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration in Riverhead.
As with previous encounters with the FAA, nothing much was accomplished, according to those attending the meeting.
Representative Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) hosted the gathering in response to calls at an earlier meeting in Bridgehampton that the FAA were sending what one official described as “second string” reps.
Supervisor Jim Dougherty said “it was encouraging” that more senior federal officials were on hand to hear the issue aired at the Riverhead meeting. “They made some of the right moves,” Mr. Dougherty said.
Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter attended that meeting and noted that the discussion focused on the routes helicopter should take, with the FAA reps saying they were trying to encourage helicopters to fly “just east of the Mattituck Inlet, where it’s less populated.”
Mr. Bishop later disputed that statement in an interview, saying, “I’m surprised to hear Supervisor Walter say that because neither I nor anyone else from my staff heard that said.”
Mr. Walter’s office does get some complaints about helicopters, he said, though he added the number is way down from previous years.
But Mr. Walter also said, “As town officials, we really don’t have much control to do anything” on the helicopter issue.
Supervisor Scott Russell said he was disappointed with the meeting, but later he, along with Mr. Dougherty, was energized by the large turnout in Wainscott a few hours after meeting the FAA officials.
No federal officials were present at that special East Hampton Town Board meeting.
Additional by Tim Gannon.