FAA to hold public hearing in Riverhead Nov. 14

North Fork residents who have long been frustrated over the constant helicopter noise overhead, particularly during summer months, will finally get their chance to vent to the Federal Aviation Administration. A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 14 in Riverhead, following the bill passed in October that requires the FAA to reassess the North Shore Helicopter Route.

The FAA meeting will use a workshop format from 7 to 9 p.m. at Riverhead Middle School, located at 600 Harrison Ave. The agency will have several stations set up pertaining to relevant aspects of the North Shore Helicopter Route. FAA personnel will be at each station to answer questions. There will also be a station where the public can submit a written statement for the record.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 included an amendment that required the FAA to consider the noise impacts on affected communities, improve altitude enforcement and consider alternative routes, such as an all-water route over the Atlantic Ocean.

At previous Southold Town Board work sessions, representatives from the Helicopter Noise Steering Committee have expressed the need for residents to show up to hearings and share how helicopters frequently flying over their houses have impacted their life.

Teresa McCaskie, a member of the town’s helicopter advisory committee, said she will be reaching out to civic groups and trying to get public announcements on Long Island radio stations to spread the word.

Jim Peters, a spokesperson for the FAA Eastern Region, said that the FAA is also trying to arrange to have oral comments transcribed. The FAA does not plan on making a formal presentation.

Two other public hearings are being held in Garden City on Nov. 13 and in Flushing Nov. 15 on the same topic.

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) added the legislative proposal into the FAA bill that passed through the House in April before the Senate came to an agreement to pass it in late September. It was signed by President Trump in October.

“The FAA and Department of Transportation have sole jurisdiction over the aircraft routes that have impacted these communities, but from the route’s planning to its continued use, they have continued to flat out ignore the residents directly affected,” Mr. Zeldin said in a statement in September.

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