East Hampton Chopper Restrictions Draw Suit

     CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) – A noise-minded new law that clips the wings of helicopters in the luxe Long Island hamlet of East Hampton is unconstitutional, aviators say in Federal Court.
     The Tuesday complaint against East Hampton, a town about 100 miles from New York City, takes aim at a new law that imposes curfews on when helicopters can land at the East Hampton Airport, a “public-use, federally funded airport.”
     Use of the airport is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, which puts it beyond the reach of local laws, the 34-page complaint alleges.
     “The economy of the Town of East Hampton is tied intrinsically to the use and enjoyment of its natural and scenic environment, including its world-renowned ocean beaches,” lead plaintiff Friends of the East Hampton Airport says.
     During the busy vacationing season between May to September, people flock to the hamlet to enjoy the “pastoral lifestyle” which makes the area “highly desirable” to live and visit, according to the text of the law adopted at the April 16 meeting of the town board.
     For many living in and visiting the town, the fluttering noise of incoming choppers over the last three decades has “disrupted outdoor activities and diminished the quality of life in the town,” according to the law.
     There is no mention of whether new law will have any effect on the Kardashian family, who filmed a reality show in nearby Southampton last summer.
     The law says aircraft traffic has increased 23 percent from 2013 to 2014, and that helicopter traffic has risen nearly by half that same year.
     Chopper noise creates “community strife” and “interrupts conversations and other ordinary activities and makes it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities,” according to the new law passed by the seven-member council.
     The noise isn’t only “merely annoying and disturbing,” but it also threatens the town’s “economic viability” as a “place where people can escape the noise and stresses of urban life in favor of tranquility and rural quiet.”
     The council banned aircraft between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., and subjected violators to misdemeanor charges with a fine up to $1,000, which then goes to $4,000 for a second violation, then $10,000.
     A fourth strike means an aircraft is banned from landing for the next two years, according to the law.
     A representative with the town did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
     The plaintiffs filed a similar, pre-emptory federal lawsuit in January. That complaint named the Federal Aviation Administration as a defendant.
     In the latest complaint, Friends of the East Hampton Airport Inc. is joined as a plaintiff bby Analar Corp.; Associated Aircraft Group inc.; Eleventh Street Aviation LLC; Helicopter Association International Inc.; Heliflite Shares LLC; Liberty Helicopters Inc.; Sound Aircraft Services Inc.
     They are represented by Lisa Zornberg with Lankler Siffert & Wohl in Manhattan.

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