As has been stated in this space before, the battle over excessive noise from low flying helicopters going in and out of East Hampton Airport that had driven Islanders to distraction and worse, has no villains.
It’s not a morality play of good people versus evil doers, as some residents have characterized aircraft companies and commuter services. It’s all about power and who can get it; and once power is gained, who can prevail in a fight to keep using it.
The East Hampton Town Board, by announcing a proposed law that would ban helicopters access to the airport on summer weekends, along with other restrictions, has realized its power and used it.
The new law, if passed next month, also imposes other restrictions including curfews. Since airport statistics state that from January to September last year there were more than 22,000 take offs and landings at the airport, and nearly 27,000 complaints logged from surrounding communities— including the Island — the board has taken action to turn down the volume.
But there are groups aligned that say not so fast. The Friends of East Hampton Airport have made a case based on economics — local business will be hurt, they claim — and questioning the board’s statistics.
They also have moved the battle into federal court.
We support the East Hampton Town Board for taking its charge to protect the health and well-being of residents seriously, not just on the South Fork, but for Island and North Fork residents as well.
The time has come to stop the madness of helicopters buzzing our communities.
Police Chief Jim Read, as emergency management coordinator for the town — the point person leading a team to keep Islanders safe during natural or man-made emergencies — deserves a tip of the cap and a hearty thank you.
Last week Chief Read announced the roll out of CodeRed, a web-based emergency notification system, free of charge for Islanders.
The service contacts residents with important information and directions through multiple platforms, including voicemail, texts, email, social media and a mobile alert app. CodeRed can be used for any emergency management situation, including potentially dangerous weather, chemical spills, terrorist threats, drinking water contamination, power outages and police work, such as a missing child or hostage situations.
It’s a tremendous assets for all Islanders, and especially helpful to second-home owners and frail and/or elderly residents.
But as Chief Read pointed out, the system is only as good as the number of people who register with CodeRed to get early warnings.
The link and easy-to-follow directions are on the Police Department’s and Town Hall’s websites at shelterislandpolice.us or shelterislandtown.us.
Click on the CodeRed links and keep your family safe.