UPDATED: Court Upholds East Hampton Airport Master Plan

Supreme court decision states town adequately considered the issues of noise impacts and runway choice.

The New York State Supreme Court ruled to uphold the East Hampton Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan that the town adopted , the East Hampton Aviation Association announced on Thursday.

In a landmark decision, the association said in a statement, the court issued an 11-page decision dismissing the case brought by David Gruber and his Committee to Stop Airport Expansion.

A copy of the decision has been attached to this article.

The court ruled that Gruber and the other opponents "have not produced any competent evidence to controvert the analyses prepared by the Town, and thus, have not established that the Town failed to take a 'hard look' at the impacts or lacked 'reasoned elaboration' for its analyses and findings. . . . Accordingly, the Court denies the petition in its entirety."

The plans, first adopted in September 2010, call for closing of one runway, the repair of another runway, and connecting two taxiways. The aviation association said local pilots have been asking for the repair of Runway 4-22, the short runway, necessary for small planes to make safe landings at the airport since 1989.

“We are thrilled that the way has been cleared for the repair work at the airport,” said Paul Sheerer, a member of the aviation association board.

“Now, we urge the town to proceed with the repair of the runway without further delay," said Tom Twomey a director of the aviation association and voluntary member of its legal committee.

According to the aviation's attornies, opponents tried to get the court to issue a temporary restraining order, which was denied, and then took their case to the Appellate Division and ultimately to the Court of Appeals, where they were denied, again. The latest ruling is the fourth ruling won by the town in this case.

"An Appeal of this decision will be a waste of time,” said Anthony Pasca, an attorney for the association. “The appellate courts have already decided the Gruber challenge to the airport Plans lacked merit,” he said.

Jeffrey Bragman, an attorney for the petitioners, said on Thursday afternoon, "A fight is not over in the first round. We have always anticipated that  further judicial review would be required."

He said the Court did reject some of the town's "smoke screens:  i.e. that the environmental review was voluntary, or that the proposed airport changes could not have environmental impacts. The key issues will be reviewed again."

In the decision, the court also said: "It is clear that the FGEIS [Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement] has adequately considered the issue of noise impacts, and the issue of runway choice. An extensive review of the record, and specifically the FGEIS and the documents incorporated therein, reveals that the Town has adequately reviewed and analyzed the impact of noise considering the DNL standard while taking into account the single event noise data."

“In view of the court ruling and the success of the Town's new airport control tower, we hope that the airport opponents will finally take a more constructive approach to noise reduction at the airport and stop attacking the Town and local taxpayers with expensive and baseless legal actions,” said Harold Levy, a member of the board of directors.

The association claims that the airport opponents cost the town taxpayers to spend "staggering amounts of money fighting meritless legal proceedings in the opponents' effort to shut down various airport operations" over the last 20 years.

David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 02:52 AM
I meant to say that a majority of aircraft owners don't live in East Hampton.
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 02:53 AM
And hence cannot vote here.
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Look ! I do not reallty know about the "anti space weaponry". But I can tell you ONE THING: In the case of a MAJOR EMERGENCY, your fabled route 27, that saves millions of people ! would be the quintescencantial disaster. This would be YOUR fantasy, GRUBER . Hell ! The stupid street cannot handle the regular traffic westbound on a single day ! What makes you think they can handle it on the next dfay / Now ! I am not saying that KHTO airport would not be more efficient.... All I am saying is that David Gruber, directing traffic at the Wainscott post office, would not certainly do any better...
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Boleis, you are again babbling about the value of the airport in an emergency. In your fantasy, the roads are impassable and fleets of small aircraft are going to evacuate East Hampton via the airport. How is everyone going to get to the airport if the roads are impassable? Where are these fleets of small aircraft going to come from? Is Stephen Spielberg going to rescue us with his Gulfstream? Back here in the real world, if any aircraft are going to be useful in an emergency of such magnitude, it is helicopters. They don't need the airport. The whole notion of the airport saving us in an emergency is juvenile. The stuff of comic books. Gabreski has one of the longest runways on the East Coast. It can accommodate military transports. If we are inaccessible by car and truck and helicopter and boat and ferry and train, do you seriously think that relief is going to come in the form of four-seaters and business jets? The very notion is ridiculous, Boleis.
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 03:30 AM
I do, I can, and I shall..... GB
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 03:32 AM
No... I never said so.... You did.... GB
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 03:54 AM
YOU DID ! Admit it !
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 03:57 AM
A ridiculous notion indeed ! Admit it !
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 03:58 AM
So what then is the basis for your claim that the airport is an important public resource in an emergency? Under what circumstances could we possibly be saved by fleets of small, fixed-wing aircraft? Can they evacuate us? No. Can they bring vital supplies when we cannot be reached by helicopter, car, truck, boat, ferry, or train? No. The whole notion is crazy. But it is not my crazy claim. It is you airport users who keep repeating this, although it is objectively ridiculous.
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 04:00 AM
I never even mentioned Gabreski... Admit it !
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Boleis, I am quite clearly ridiculing the idea that the airport is a valuable emergency resource. It is not I who is making that claim. Please read before you write.
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 04:07 AM
OK ! No admission yet ! Does not make any difference to me. But if I were you (God am I happy I am NOT !), I would try, right now, to save the small iota of credibility I might have left.........................
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 04:32 AM
And I am ridiculing the idea of ANYBODY evacuating me with a G5. (Or a PA28 for that matter!) Least of all, David Gruber evacuating me going down route 27 with a wheelbarrow ! GB (I know how to read !)
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Sorry, Boleis, but clearly you do not know how to read. You may be picking out the words, but you quite obviously do not understand what they mean. You and your pals keep claiming that East Hampton Airport is somehow of importance to the community in an emergency. What sort of emergency could that possibly be? Assuming that something critical demands air access, such as a medical evacuation or the immediate delivery of some sort of critical supply, some anti-toxin let's say, the means of choice is helicopter, not small, fixe-wing aircraft. An airport is irrelevant for emergency helicopter access. Indeed, as I pointed out, in a medical evacuation you want to put the helicopter down as close as possible to the victim. You don't drive the victim to a particular airport to be picked up. The point about Gabreski is that it is a large airport, former military base and still an ANG station, with one of the longest runways on the East Coast. It can accommodate large, military transports. So, if in your fevered imagination, some large quantity of supplies has to come in by air in response to this fantasy emergency, the would go to Gabreski, in large aircraft. They would not come to East Hampton in Stephen Spielberg's G5.
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Okay, but you say that we are somehow cut off from access to Gabreski. Trucks cannot get there to pick up these critical supplies. Buses cannot get there to deliver us to the large, commercial aircraft capable of landing there and evacuating us, because you, not I suppose, that we must be evacuated in this emergency. Well then, we are surrounded by the sea. We have a rail line. Why are these critical supplies not coming by boat or rail? If a mass evacuation is needed and the road is closed (and yes, the highway can evacuate the population of East Hampton as most of the summer population, which exceeds the winter population, arrives and departs that way every summer weekend) and all side roads are closed, why are we not leaving by rail, or ferry, or ship? Why are not these critical emergency supplies not arriving by rail, or ferry, or ship? No, in your fantasy emergency in which we are all so grateful for the existence of East Hampton Airport, we have been rendered inaccessible by road, helicopter, rail, ferry, boat, and ship. We have no air access at Gabreski. We cannot leave by any of these means. The critical injured cannot be evacuated by any of these means. Emergency supplies cannot arrive by any of these means. Yet, somehow, magically, in the midst of this disaster, a fleet of small aircraft, that exists where exactly?, comes to our rescue at HTO. For East Hampton Airport to somehow have any use in any emergency, one has to fantasize a situation
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Do you not see how ridiculous this is? Do you not see that there is no scenario, plausible or implausible, in which East Hampton Airport is important to the community in an emergency? So, do you want to tell us under what circumstances the claim by you and your pals, that East Hampton Airport is an important resource in an emergency, could possibly be true? Or are you ready to admit, admit, admit that the claim is in fact ridiculous? The airport serves hobby pilots and a handful of wealthy who commute by private jet and helicopter. It has no other function. It is economically trivial because there is no home in East Hampton that would not be filled by someone spending money, be it a very expensive home or a modest one, if the airport vanished tomorrow. No one comes to East Hampton because of the airport, and if they did and ceased to live here, they would be replaced in an instant by someone else. So, get over it. East Hampton Airport is an amenity for a handful of people. Like a tennis court, or a golf course. There is no reason for the community to sustain a nuisance for the mere pleasure and convenience of a tiny number of wealthy people. We can solve the problem with sensible regulation, such as they have in Southampton and NYC. We will. It is inevitable. Because you people are absolutists, the aviation equivalent of the NRA, who insist on your absolute freedom at everyone else's expenses, you are burdening more and more people every day.
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM
As the numbers burdened keep rising, and as there are only 100 based aircraft, less than half owned by East Hampton resident, it is inevitable that the votes will be there to elect people to the East Hampton Town Board who will impose sensible regulations on this airport, curfew, exclusion of excessively noisy aircraft types, and/or limitations on operations, all of which have been sanctioned by the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals as means by which a municipal airport owner can protect the community from aircraft noise. And when that happens, you will not complain, you will "get over it" and you will "move on." right? Because you believe in democracy. You believe that through public debate, education, letters to the editor, political organization a free people gets to determine what sort of community it will be, right? And if the community's vision happens to inconvenience you and a tiny minority, slightly, you are happy to accept that for the greater good. Right?
Ralebird August 11, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Whoa, Dude...PUT THE MOUSE DOWN and step away from the computer!
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 05:48 PM
You mean just leave you alone to litter the place with unsupportable claims of various kinds? Why would I do that? Still waiting for your description of the scenario in which the East Hampton Airport serves some important function in an emergency. Got anything to say or are you ready to admit that this is nonsense?
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 09:14 PM
I never claimed anything of the sort. You are assuming too much Mr Gruber.....
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Mister Gruber, I do not think you are in a good position to make affirmative statements on my position (or anybody else's) towards democracy. Democracy in general, and this one in particular................ To answer your question: IF and when this happens (I added the IF !), "we" could of course get over it, and move on, as you obliquely, and somewhat sarcastically, suggest. One other option would be for "us", to block, oppose, obstruct, impede, with lawsuits some more frivolous than others. We could request T R O's, every single step of the way, file for appeals each time we lose, and to top it all off, if nothing of this works, there is still a section 78 ! All this continuously, repetitively, (but very "democratically") for a period of at least 14 years. Which of these two scenarios would you consider appropriate, Mister Gruber ?
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 09:56 PM
My apologies for being a functional illiterate. ("clearly you do not know how to read") Hey ! Everybody can not have your intrinsic insight, into the "TRUTH OF THE MATTER". But what is it with Stephen Spielberg's G5 ? The second time you mention this...... Some sort of repressed inferiority complex ?
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Boleis, whom do you think your kidding? I made no affirmative statements about your views of democracy. I inquired, indeed sarcastically, whether, in the event that regulations are imposed on the airport, you are going to take all your own advice and cheerfully accept the democratic outcome. But we all know the answer to that is no. If the town imposes regulation, it won't be 30 seconds before aviation interests bring a lawsuit. The town has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees just to figure out how it can regulate while minimizing the litigation risk from aviation interests. That doesn't bother you in the slightest, does it? Not only that, but whether you know it or the public knows, local aviation interests have already resorted to legal action against the town. They brought on an FAA action because the town was not dedicating rents from the commercial business park solely to the airport. That cost the town a couple of hundred thousand to settle. But since it effectively went to the benefit or airport users, you are not concerned about that either, are you? Also gives the lie to the claim that the airport does not take money out of the pockets of the taxpayers. That land belongs to the entire town. Airport users never paid a cent for it. Yet, the revenues generated by that land must be spent on you, just because the land appears on an FAA plan as within the nominal airport boundary. You worried about the cost of that to taxpayers?
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 10:12 PM
We also know that Tom Twomey, whose law office is the official address of the East Hampton Aviation Association, did not hesitate to sue the Village of East Hampton on behalf of the library when he didn't like its zoning decision. You think he won't sue the town if there are restrictions placed on his ability to fly his twin-engine plane in and out of East Hampton Airport as and when he pleases? I actually would accept any democratic outcome, and cheerfully, so long as it is not achieved by deceit. You conveniently forget that in the first lawsuit, the court actually held that the runway widening violated the existing Airport Master Plan. It affirmatively held that the business jet plan submitted to the FAA had never been adopted by the town. In the second case, the Federal grand jury investigation, after the fact, established that the town had submitted a phony version of the duly-adopted 1990 plan. Your view is that you stole it fair and square so you should be allowed to keep it without anyone resorting to the courts for justice.
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 10:22 PM
If you are really concerned about the cost to taxpayers of lawsuits, there is a great way in which you can save everyone a lot of money. The FAA rules provide that regulations can be imposed if the regular airport users all agree. So, as a demonstration of your good faith and concern for the citizens of East Hampton, why don't you and the rest of the airport users get together and agree now on the curfew and the ban on summer week-end touch and gos that should have been implemented in 1989 but were not due to FAA interference. Then no one will have anything to argue about. With that behind us, we can all work together on solving the problems posed by helicopters, do-able as those are Stage 2 aircraft. Once that too is done, you can all get on about enjoying your use of the airport (and planning for the emergencies in which you and the other airport users will save the town). The neighbors will no longer be burdened by excessive noise and you can have your fun. Everyone will save money. What do you say? Can we count on you to do the right thing? Or will you and the rest of the aviation interests continue to resist by any means available even the modest regulation promised to the public 23 years ago and never delivered?
Gerard Boleis August 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM
A couple of more sarcasms......("save the town !"). It is not going to get you anywhere. Working together with you ? Under YOUR terms ? I am so sorry, this is not going to happen. That being said, I am now removing myself from this forum. It was fun for a while, but now it is getting boring, besides it is an exercise in futility, very few people read this anyway, and I have better things to do. Lastly, Mr Gruber, in your upcoming campaign for "democracy", will you please keep your letters to the editor somewhat shorter ? and please get away from this repetitive theme " Pat Trunzo's secret confessions". Then I might even read them ! (Although my personal litteracy, is still an open question...) Checking out ! For ever ! Buena suerte a todos GB
David Gruber August 11, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I do so appreciate your advice on what to say and how to say it. Not work with me? Fine. I don't imagine it would be a picnic working with you and I can surely find many better things to do too. But there are many other people working on solutions, not including any pilots as far as I know. So, go work with the people at Quiet Skies Coalition (which does not include me, I only answer their technical questions if they pose them to me). Kathy Cunningham, Charles Ehren, Pat Trunzo. They are not hard to find. If, that is, you are looking for someone to work with. As for sarcasm, nothing can top you and "Pat Trunzo's secret confessions." Pat Trunzo told the truth, in public, as he always does. But it took a Federal grand jury to prove that Trunzo was honest and town officials were liars and cheats. You don't like being reminded that that is they way the pulled of the apron project, with lies? Too bad. Get over it. That story needs to be told over and over again until everyone in town knows it (as they should know about how much the aviation association's action against the town cost the taxpayers). You will just have to cover your ears and eyes. Goodbye. Vaya con dios.
David Gruber August 12, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Ah, one last thing before I go. One wonders whether Mr. Boleis and the aviation association, which brought on an action against the town over the use of rents from the commercial park without much concern about the cost to the taxpayers, were also exercised about the cost to the taxpayers when Sound Aviation sued the town for corrupt behavior for giving a hangar lease to the lower bidder, Ben Krupinski's company, rather than to Sound, the higher bidder in 1997. I don't recall any public complaint from pilots and airport users about this. The bad odor surrounding the airport is unmistakeable. The trail of deceit and hypocrisy goes way back. But we cannot know exactly what it is that stinks so because it remains hidden from the public.
Preliator August 12, 2012 at 12:39 AM
The only odor around the airport is the smell of decay and corruption a bunch of stuck up twits with noses out of joint make after being duped into buy a house there. You have to be pretty f-ing stupid to buy land near an airport then complain about the noise. I hope you have better sense when the relator at the next town you move to tells you you don't even notice the noise from the ACME Fire Whistle company next door....you schmuck. Besides we need the airport...how else can President Romney fly in on Marine One to say next year.


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