East Hills expects to get air noise monitor: Koblenz

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Village of East Hills officials hailed a call by federal officials last week for the Port Authority to install additional noise monitors in Queens and Nassau communities to evaluate noise levels of airplanes entering New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.

And, the village officials said, East Hills should be among the first in line in getting a noise monitor.

“It’s certainly something we’ve been pushing for and will continue to push for,” Village of East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz said Friday. “We expect to get a noise monitor because we’re on one of the highest points on Long Island.”

On Thursday, U.S. senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, joined representatives Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills), Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) and Grace Meng (D-Queens), in writing a letter to Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael P. Huerta saying that the implementation of additional airplane noise monitors are needed to more accurately monitor airplane noise levels near JFK and LaGuardia.

“We understand that the Port Authority is in the process of upgrading the Airport Noise and Operations Monitoring System with the latest technology and creating a public Web site that will make data accessible within 24 hours,” the officials wrote. “We applaud the Port Authority for this effort. We believe that the next step should be adding additional noise monitors so that the affect of airplane noise can be understood in all communities.”

In a “Message from the Mayor” that was e-mailed to residents Thursday, Koblenz said the village “applaud[s] Senator Schumer, Steve Israel, and other members of Congress who are addressing excessive airplane congestion over our Village and other neighborhoods. We will continue to work with our federal officials to reduce airplane noise over our community.”

In early July, Koblenz met with Israel and other village mayors to discuss the flow of air traffic across the North Shore, and the village last week hosted a public meeting during which residents were informed of the proper ways of sending complaints about air noise to Port Authority officials.

“As a village, we’re quite frustrated by the frequency of flights over the village,” Village of East Hills Trustee Peter Zuckerman said. “Obviously, there’s the concern of noise but also the health and safety effects. The planes are flying so low we can read the logos on the side, and we just don’t know the long-term health effects.”

Schumer said in a statement that noise monitors are severely under-utilized in New York, as other airports in major U.S. cities use more than 30 airplane noise monitors while JFK and LaGuardia use only 14 combined.

“The bottom line is that we need more monitors so we can collect the best data and assess impacts and make decisions based on the best information,” Schumer said. “The Port Authority’s new transparent Web site is a step in the direction but additional noise monitors should be installed so that local residents can get an accurate read of noise levels.”

Koblenz has urged residents in attendance at board of trustees meetings in recent months to write letters voicing their discontent with the noise to Israel and state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), and the village created an aircraft noise abatement committee at its May 20 meeting to direct residents’ complaints. 

Koblenz said he has also circulated a letter to other village mayors within the Town of North Hempstead to increase support, but said he was told his own village should take the initiative in combating the FAA.

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