Supervisor wants to establish town helicopter committee


Fed up with the noise created by helicopters flying over homes in Southold Town, Supervisor Scott Russell is looking to hold a public meeting and possibly establish a town committee to help combat the issue on a state and federal level.

“I’m getting calls from residents all over Southold,” he said Tuesday morning during the Town Board’s work session. “We need to create rapid response plan.”

The meeting, which would take place at the end of the month, would bring Southold residents together with other groups advocating against helicopter traffic on the North Fork— such as Group for the East End  — to discuss strategies to reduce the number of helicopters flying overhead on their way to the South Fork, Mr. Russell said.

“We need to bring this whole thing together on the North Fork,” he said.

Ultimately, he’d liked to see Southold Town create its own action committee to work with regional groups as well as Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-Brooklyn) to resolve the noise problem.

Both the senator and the congressman has been pushing to make permanent a temporary Federal Aviation Administration restriction on flights over the North Fork that is set to expire in 2016.

The restriction mandates pilots fly the North Shore route, which require helicopters to fly over Long Island Sound between Huntington and Orient Point.  Unless otherwise authorized, they must fly one mile off the coast to limit noise for residential areas.

While towns to the west are supportive of the measure, Mr. Russell said loopholes have made the limitations moot for Southold residents. Pilots can deviate from those requirements for safety reasons, such as weather conditions or transitioning to or from a destination or point of landing.

Although no date has been set, Mr. Russell said he hopes to host the forum alongside Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) during the last week of July.

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