Torture and Torment – Letter to the Editor, East Hampton Star, September 2, 2013

Dear David,

Dirty, noisy helicopters can fly as many passengers as they have capacity, flying to and from the Hamptons without disrupting, torturing, and tormenting residential property owners. In fact, they don’t have to fly over one residential property. This is very important, so let me state this again. Helicopters can fly to and from the Hamptons without flying over a single residential property. This is an excellent solution for the number one problem we face in East Hampton and the entire Peconic region.

Dirty, noisy helicopters don’t need to fly into East Hampton Airport to fly into the Hamptons. There are two reasonable alternatives:

The first is Montauk Airport. The northern route follows the northern Long Island shoreline about three miles offshore. The northern helicopter route can simply be extended past Plum Island with a transition south into Montauk Airport. Montauk Airport is situated directly on Block Island Sound, thereby eliminating dirty, noisy helicopters from flying over residential properties.

The second alternative is Southampton Heliport at the end of Meadow Lane. The southern helicopter route follows the southern Long Island shoreline about three miles offshore. Helicopters need only to simply turn north into the Southampton Heliport, which is situated directly on the ocean, again eliminating dirty, noisy helicopters from flying over residential properties.

It’s so silly that dirty, noisy helicopters are permitted to fly into East Hampton Airport, because it’s surrounded by thousands of residential properties. When dirty, noisy helicopters fly into East Hampton Airport thousands of residential property owners are rudely disrupted, tortured, and tormented, only to have one or two passengers disembark from the helicopter. It is not silly anymore. It really is crazy. It is also crazy that our elected town officials have allowed this torturous activity to continue for as long as they have.

All good solutions require compromise. It will take a little bit longer for the owners and passengers of dirty, noisy helicopters to arrive at their homes. That small imposition surely pales to the tremendous relief given to thousands of folks on the ground who simply wish to have their right for peaceful enjoyment of their properties, guaranteed to them by local municipalities through their zoning laws, returned to them.

Also consider the hundreds of local jobs that may be created by this solution as taxi and limousine drivers pick up the passengers. Possibly a shuttle service can be considered. What is interesting to note, the time of day passengers of these helicopters that arrive and leave the Hamptons is always opposite the traffic flow of vehicular traffic from Montauk. This is why this solution is such a small imposition.

It is easy for East Hampton Town Board members to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the dirty, noisy helicopters. Or as Councilman Dominick Stanzione advocates, to “spread the pain,” so everyone suffers the disruption, torture, and torment of dirty, noisy helicopters. It is hard work to find a solution and then implement it. We desperately need hard-working town board members with backbone to stand up to the helicopter interests who can finally end this nightmare. This year we have the opportunity to vote out those who have no interest in solving this massive problem.

It’s not silly anymore. It is literally crazy to make so many people suffer.