Village of Old Westbury Mayor Fred Carillo has joined East Hills in supporting a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration to force a reduction in the number of flights over East Hills and other Nassau County communities.
“We (Village of Old Westbury) hereby support Mayor Michael Koblenz of the Village of East Hills and request that you, as Nassau County Executive, consider litigation for the intolerable conditions that disrupts the quality of life of Old Westbury and East Hills residents as well as North Shore Village residents due to the excessive noise they experience from airline flight paths to JFK Airport,” Carillo said in a letter to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.
The letter, which was also sent to North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and state Sen. Jack Martins, comes two weeks after Koblenz sent a similar letter to the county and town requesting similar aid.
Koblenz called his demand, which was sent in an email to East Hills residents, a last resort after what he said were repeated efforts by the village and other local municipalities to address the problem.
“It’s one plane after another flying loudly above the village,” Koblenz said.
He said the village had done all it could communicating its requests to FAA officials but the agency hadn’t taken steps to remedy the problems.
“Koblenz is a good friend of mine and I told him that I was going to support his efforts but I even went further with my letter,” Carillop said. “I not only forwarded mine to the town and county, I also sent it to [state] Sen. Jack Martins office.”
Chris Schneider, a spokesperson for Martins, said although Martins hadn’t received the letter sent by Carillo, he supports the mayors’ efforts.
“For years, Sen. Martins has been at the forefront, working with local leaders to push back on the barrage of excessive airplane noise. His efforts led the Port Authority to begin a Part 150 study, which measures airplane noise levels over our communities, a necessary step towards requiring the federal government to address the problem,” Schneider said. “The FAA must act to re-align flight paths around our suburban communities and we will continue to work with local leaders to protect our families and quality of life.”
Carillo’s letter also suggested that the FAA authorize airlines to change their flight paths to alter where they turn, to fly at a higher altitude to reduce the noise, and to revise the angle of descent for landing at John F. Kennedy airport.
“If you get enough people to notify the senator, Congress might be able to do something,” Carillo said.
Although only a dozen residents have tabled formal complaints to trustees in Old Westbury, Carillo said, many residents haven’t come forward to complain.
“We have been experiencing these conditions over several years and the many news conferences and thousands of signed petitions to date requesting the FAA to overhaul their traffic pattern have fallen to deaf ears,” Carillo wrote.
In 2013, after many complaints by residents, East Hills held a public hearing to create an action plan to combat the issue.
“We met with Congressman Steve Israel who was very supportive,” Koblenz said.
He said the village has met with local and state officials over the years but that any no concrete steps to remedy the problem had been taken.
“This has been going on for years and it’s hard because we are just a village and we are doing the very best that we can,” Koblenz said.
He said someone besides the Village of East Hills should take lead on the litigation process and expenses.
“We can’t sue the FAA by ourselves. If we did that and we got what we wanted, we would still be paying the legal fees for years,” Koblenz said.
Koblenz said his letter has galvanized other neighboring mayors whose residents are being affected by the aircraft noise to take action.
“The goal is to gather up momentum and support from the villages and hopefully that will get the Town of North Hempstead to make something happen,” Koblenz said.
He was invited by Mayor Elaine Phillips to the talk about his letter at the Village of Flower Hill’s board meeting on Monday night, he said.
“I was invited by the mayor to give a presentation about my letter and to see how they could support the effort and write one,” Koblenz said.
Koblenz, who is a former resident and trustee of Flower Hill, said the trustees have made verbal commitments to support his efforts.
“The Village of Flower Hill supports the efforts of Mayor Koblenz and the residents of East Hills in their efforts to reduce aircraft noise and protect our quality of life in Nassau County,” Phillips said in a statement.
Koblenz said Village of Roslyn Mayor John Durkin has also agreed to lend support.
Village of Roslyn Deputy Mayor Marshall Bernstein said Wednesday that he spoke with Durkin about Carillo’s letter and that Village of Roslyn trustees will discuss the next plan of action at their next board meeting.
“We intend to support the villages of East Hills and Old Westbury and we will take it up at our next board of trustees meeting,” Bernstein said.
“It’s the responsibility of all the mayors in the North Shore area to ensure a good quality of life for their residents,” Carillo said. “If we have a ground support from all the villages, we should be able to push the county and the town to do something.”