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NY appeals court rules against East Hampton Airport proposal

FILE- In this Aug. 20, 2014 file photo, a small jet approaches the runway at East Hampton Town Airport in East Hampton, N.Y. Responding to numerous complaints from town residents, East Hampton town officials are considering new laws to strictly limit flights and impose curfews at the airport. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman, File)
Frank Eltman
A small jet approaches the runway at East Hampton Town Airport in East Hampton, N.Y.

The New York State Appellate Division ruled against the Town of East Hampton in a dispute over whether the East Hampton Town Airport skirted federal requirements.

The town had planned for the public airport to briefly close, and then reopen as a private use facility in January 2022. The rollout triggered a slew of lawsuits, including one from aviators. They claimed the criteria to use the airport was confusing, far too expensive and undermined federal policy.

A temporary restraining order issued by a state Supreme Court justice halted plans. This became a permanent injunction in May 2023.

The appeals court rejected the town’s appeal of that ruling last week. It agreed the town failed to comply with procedural requirements during the airport’s brief shutdown under the Airport Noise and Capacity Act.

The goal of creating a private-use facility was to address decades of noise and traffic complaints from nearby residents.

The airport in Wainscott is still public and fully operational as the town board reviews its options. The board is also conducting an environmental review.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.