Montauk United

Providing Montauk Residents a Means to Speak and Act as One!

AIRPORT QUESTIONNAIRE


TOWN OF EAST HAMPTON CANDIDATES’ RESPONSES

Q1: I believe Montauk residents are entitled to the same degree of Town Board support, attention and protection from aircraft noise as historically provided to other East Hampton Town residents.


YES: BRAGMAN, BURKE-GONZALEZ, GIARDINA, LARSEN, VAN SCOYOC, VILAR

NO: 0


Comments:


Bragman: Of course. Montauk is an important and unique Hamlet, with a special character and charm. It is a valuable and essential part of the Town of East Hampton. It merits our complete attention and protection, as all other locations within the town.



Q2: If elected, under NO circumstances will I support an increase in aircraft traffic at the Montauk Airport due to any future proposed actions by the E.H. Town Board.


YES: BURKE-GONZALEZ, GIARDINA, LARSEN, VAN SCOYOC, VILAR, BRAGMAN

NO: 0


Comments:


Bragman: I will not support an increase in aircraft traffic in either Montauk or elsewhere in East Hampton.



Q3: I DO NOT support the closure of the East Hampton Airport.


YES: GIARDINA, LARSON, VAN SCOYOC, VILAR, BRAGMAN, BURKE-GONZALEZ

NO: 0


Comments:


Bragman: For the present and while we are working to impose workable noise restrictions. At present, my intention is to work to control airport noise, and maintain the airport. I much prefer its original use for local recreational pilots. If we cannot limit local noise, the future of the airport would have to be decided by the residents of East Hampton. Currently, I am willing to maintain the airport and provide safety measures, but nothing that could increase traffic. I oppose FAA funding.



Q4: If elected, I will support the ANCA, Part 161 airport noise control application process which will cost, at a minimum of $1.5 - $2 million dollars.


YES: GIARDINA, VAN SCOYOC, BRAGMAN, BURKE-GONZALEZ

NO: VILAR, LARSEN


Comments:


Bragman: I support pursuing a Part 161 Study, as it is the only option to legalize local noise controls. The study should include impacts to Montauk. I am skeptical of the FAA’s willingness to cooperate with local restrictions. But we have to try.


Giardina: With regard to question 4 and 5, I want to comment that an ANCA Part 161 application does not necessarily need to cost what the Town Board and other candidates for the Board seem to be estimating. A competent Town Board realizing that so much of the Town's well-being depends on economic analysis should have on staff competent employees that can perform such an analysis in house, especially since there was an economic analysis already done in the 2013 time frame. This would greatly reduce the estimates for the economic study by not using an outside consultant. So while I have answered your questions as posed I would also suggest that the cost figures being used by the Town Board are a political machination and may not reflect reality. If elected to the Board I would endeavor to do this at less cost.


Larsen: Based on what we now know it is very unlikely the Town will be successful. I believe that we now have the leverage to negotiate voluntary reasonable restrictions.


Vilar: With regards to the FAA 161 process, without reasonable assurances of success, the 161 processes should only be considered if beneficial in a broader legal strategy, which currently appears the Town of EH has none at this time other than to throw stuff against the wall to see what sticks. I believe that the airport issue can be resolved through collective discussion once the airport users perceive that the EH Town Board will negotiate in good faith. As it relates to Montauk there is no dynamic acceptable that would divert EH airport traffic to Montauk and I would be 100% opposed to any attempt either directly or in directly to do so.



Q5: If a Part 161 application process is approved by the Town Board, there must be a monetary cap on funds to be expended on the project.


YES: LARSEN, VILAR, GIARDINA, BURKE-GONZALEZ

NO: VAN SCOYOC, BRAGMAN


Comments:


Bragman: I do not think an arbitrary cap is practical before we begin the process. Environmental and legal proceedings evolve as they proceed. I believe we should have as accurate an estimate of costs as is possible as we begin. However, we must remain watchful of costs as we proceed. I believe that we will have to continue to evaluate our progress and attendant circumstances as we proceed, retaining the right to change our course, depending on progress.


Burke-Gonzalez: Town Board resolutions to employ attorneys include a maximum expenditure. The Town Board reserves the right to amend the litigation budget depending on the status of any particular case, its likelihood of success, and the degree of community support.


Giardina: See comments re Q4 above.



Q6: I believe the Town of East Hampton should purchase the Montauk Airport.


YES: BRAGMAN, GIARDINA

NO: VILAR, BURKE-GONZALEZ, LARSEN, VAN SCOYOC


Comments:


Bragman: I think that option should be explored. Of course the willingness to sell and the price must be considered. Montauk deserves the same protection as the rest of East Hampton, and it might be better served by public ownership.


Giardina: With regard to question 6, I want to be sure I put my answer in context. There are several driving factors which should govern any purchase. First, the Part 161 application must include both the East Hampton and Montauk airports, and in my opinion and based on my knowledge of the FAA regulations, this can be done without a purchase. If this is not the case, based on FAA's interpretation, this would make the purchase option more of a priority. As I am sure you are aware my biggest priority is the preservation and improvement of the Town's water quality. I have gone on record that CPF funds should be exclusively used for the purchase of land and the accompanying preservation of water quality and specifically groundwater. For every acre of land purchased over an aquifer recharge area, 1.3 million gallons of water per year are filtered through the earth. As such, the Montauk airport does not fit into this priority for CPF purchase, and quite frankly, serves very nicely to recharge groundwater just as it is. So while I believe that the purchase of the Montauk airport might well prove to be advantageous, I would not use CPF funds for that purpose, at least not in the near term.


I realize that this last comment may not be fully consistent with some of the thoughts Montauk United may have. Notwithstanding, since I have become introduced to you I think you realize that I want my positions to be clearly articulated so that all voters know exactly what to expect when I am elected. So while I do believe that the Town should consider the purchase of the Montauk airport it should not be done at the expense of water quality protection and preservation. Both are goals that need to be attained, but water quality protection comes first in my priority ranking as it does with the majority of East Hampton residents who responded to the independent QualiData poll recently conducted.

Finally, any purchase of the Montauk airport by the Town should clearly articulate the plan for the use of the land whether it will be to continue it as an airport or some other purpose. My concern here is the Town has purchased many parcels of land and has either failed to adequately articulate future usage or has deviated from the original intended purpose of such.


General Comment


Larsen: I support all areas of our township and believe that the East Hampton Airport serves the entire community. The airport is an important component for public safety and a huge economic contributor.

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ANALYSIS OF RESULTS

Questions 1-3 deal directly with each candidate’s perception of Montauk’s relationship to the Town of East Hampton, the candidate’s willingness to transfer helicopter traffic to Montauk and their individual position on the movement to close the East Hampton Airport (An action that has the potential of increasing aviation traffic at the Montauk Airport by more than ten-fold.)



Q1: I believe Montauk residents are entitled to the same degree of Town Board support, attention and protection from aircraft noise as historically provided to other East Hampton Town residents.


YES: 6 NO: 0



Q2: If elected, under NO circumstances will I support an increase in aircraft traffic at the Montauk Airport due to any future proposed actions by the E.H. Town Board.


YES: 6 NO: 0



Q3: I DO NOT support support the closure of the East Hampton Airport.


YES: 6 NO: 0


The importance of the above three unanimous candidate commitments is essential in protecting the well-being of Montauk. This unanimity guarantees that no matter which three of the six candidates are elected, they will represent a town board majority that has publicly pledged and stated that Montauk will be protected in any and all airport issues. The Q2 unanimous vote additionally commits these three future councilpersons to be opposed to any and all increase in Montauk helicopter traffic by Town Board action.



Q4: If elected, I will support the ANCA, Part 161 airport noise control application process which will cost, at a minimum of $1.5 - $2 million dollars.


YES: 4 NO: 2


An ANCA Part 161 application is a Federal Aviation Administration procedure for local governments (East Hampton Town) to gain control and regulate local airport noise and aircraft access restrictions. The current Town Board has already unanimously voted to move forward on this application. Issues included within this application will obviously deal with EH airport restrictions on the volume of helicopter traffic. If successful, certain requested flight restriction protocols can have an enormous negative affect on the safety and protection of Montauk. However, if the unanimous candidate pledges addressed in Questions 1#, # 2, and #3, are to be believed and honored, Montauk will be protected.



Q5: If a Part 161 application process is approved by the Town Board, there must be a monetary cap on funds to be expended on the project.


YES: 4 NO: 2


The Town Board has already spent over $2.5 million dollars of the people’s money on legal fees relating to EH airport noise issues. All of these efforts have failed, representing a total $2.5 million loss. These funds were allocated from the EH Airport Account, an allocation that has been challenged in a complaint proceeding before the F.A.A. The law firm presently hired by the Town Board to manage the above approved Stage 3 Part 161 application estimates a preparation fee to be as high as $1.5 - $2 million for what they believe will be a 2-3 year process. The dollar estimate does not include litigation expenses. Outside legal experts believe litigation fees, connected to this application process, will be at least 1-2 times the previous failed litigation expenses of $2.5 million+. Note this: In the entire history of the Federal Aviation Administration, only two Stage 3 applications have been deemed complete by the FAA, both of which were denied. The cost of these failed applications ranged from $3-$7 million dollars expended in a submission time span averaging 9-10 years.



Q6: I believe the Town of East Hampton should purchase the Montauk Airport.


YES: 2 NO: 4


The Montauk Airport is grant obligated until 2030. It must remain an actual airport facility during that period of time no matter what form of ownership exists.


There is no doubt the unanimous candidate YES responses to Q1, Q2 and Q3 should be considered a significant victory for MONTAUK UNITED and, more importantly, for the entire Village of Montauk. The candidate YES vote for Q1, Q2 and Q3 confirms that no matter what the election results may be, no matter who is elected, there will exist a majority of town councilpersons who have publicly stated and committed to a policy of attention, respect, and protection to Montauk in regard to all EH airport issues dealing with aviation noise and helicopter flight restrictions. Additionally, the unanimous YES to Q2 promises no increase in Montauk aircraft traffic due to any future Town Board actions. The unanimous candidate commitments, not only have assured Montauk of protection from any and all negative EH aviation issues, they also represent the accomplishment of MONTAUK UNITED’s mission through the awareness and unification of its citizens.


Of course, the question remains that if and/or when the time arrives for these future councilperson’s promises and pledges to be tested, will these same elected officials fully stand by and live up to their campaign commitments? Only time will tell. However, MONTAUK UNITED will continue its in-depth and on-going attention to all East Hampton Town Board activity, especially in relation to the future Part 161 application process and any and all other matters concerning East Hampton airport noise and flight restriction issues.


In terms of the present election, MONTAUK UNITED accepts the veracity of all candidate pledges relating to airport noise issues and takes each of their pledged replies at their word. While the Part 161 funding question must be seriously taken into consideration, the unanimous candidate commitment, as expressed in the first 3 questions insures Montauk of future airport issue consideration and protection. As such, the specific choice of any individual candidate is a decision best left to the individual Montauk voter in terms of other important Montauk oriented issues as clean water and environment protection issues.


MONTAUK UNITED very much appreciates and gives sincerest thanks to all of its supporters. Without your kind and generous help and assistance the accomplishments and commitments attained would simply never have occurred.