The Southold Town Board fortified its helicopter regulations Tuesday night to help limit overhead noise that has been a longtime nuisance to residents.
The code change would prohibit helicopters and seaplanes from landing in or taking off from all zoning districts in the town. The town had been working on the code change in response to the expanding air industry that is bringing more air traffic. In October 2017, for example, an on-demand helicopter app had advertised a trip to a Mattituck vineyard, which raised concerns among officials. That event was ultimately canceled. READ
The Town Board wants to clarify part of the town code related to helicopters and seaplanes in advance of a July 31 public hearing on the proposed amendments.
The proposed language changes discussed at Tuesday’s work session are intended to clearly define permitted uses for helicopters that are already on the books. For example, it is currently illegal for helicopters to land or take off anywhere in town under the zoning code — and that wouldn’t change under the new legislation.
Members discussed spelling out the permitted accessory uses of helicopters for agricultural operations, which are limited to spraying crops, surveying fields and transporting employees — all of which are allowed by a special exception granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Medical or police emergency necessities, as well as the agricultural uses defined above, are an exception to this rule, the code reads. This rule also doesn’t apply at Mattituck Airfield, Elizabeth Airfield on Fishers Island, Gardiners Island and Rose Airfield in Orient.
Seaplanes are also not allowed to land or take off from waterways under the jurisdiction of Southold’s Board of Trustees.
“We had an instance with a helicopter landing at a winery, so we needed to make it more specific so that people understood and it was spelled out,” Councilman Bob Ghosio, who serves as Town Board liaison to the helicopter noise steering committee, said after the meeting. “We’re trying to make it clear and address the future and take the consideration the current business owners that operate.”
The Southold Town Board may consider additions to town code to make it clear that helicopter landings are not permitted in residential districts. (more…)
Update: Shinn Estate Vineyards canceled the event Tuesday afternoon, letting the public know through a Facebook post that shared a Patch story on the update. “To our neighbors: we hear you loud and clear. You have always and will always remain our priority,” the post said. The vineyard’s owners did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
He travels primarily by reindeer-powered sleigh, but for his annual visit to Cutchogue, Santa Claus prefers another mode of transportation: helicopter. READ
The request to the Greenport Village Board by Walter Gezari, owner of STIDD Systems, to use a helicopter to make his business more efficient is not much different than many other American companies that use general aviation. READ
More than dozen of Southold residents gathered to learn about the town’s new ad hoc civic committee. (Cyndi Murray photo)
Hands shot up from the audience when Southold Supervisor Scott Russell asked for volunteers to join the town’s newly formed citizens advisory committee to combat helicopter noise. (more…)
Southold Town residents are invited to Town Hall Tuesday to join a community activist group aiming to help combat helicopter noise in Southold Town and across the East End. (more…)
Southold Town is calling on its residents take part in a locally based community activist group to help combat helicopter noise in Southold and across the East End. (more…)
Mattituck resident Teresa McCaskie talking with an FAA representative at Monday night’s meeting. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)
Frustrated by years of incessant helicopter flights over their homes and summer homes, more than 200 citizens showed up at a forum Monday night in Southold to demand real solutions to what’s become a huge problem in the otherwise quiet hamlets that dot the North Fork: noise pollution. (more…)