East Hampton Town was compelled on Monday not to enforce three new restrictions on air traffic at East Hampton Airport for a period of three weeks.
U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert said she would decide on the temporary restraining order (TRO) that a contingent of aviation businesses asked for in a lawsuit that they filed on June 8. She expects to make her decision on the injunction on June 8. East Hampton Town said it would hold off the effective date of its restrictions until then, according to the town’s attorney Peter Kirsch.
“We thought the hearing went reasonably well,” Mr. Kirsch said. “The town is disappointed it had to agree to extending the effective date of the restrictions, but this is the first battle in a lengthy war.”
A coalitions of aviation interests calling themselves The Friends of the East Hampton Airport, representing several helicopter and aircraft businesses, filed a lawsuit in April against the Town of East Hampton for adopting the new restrictions designed to reduce noise generated by air traffic at the airport. In that suit, they requested a TRO to block the town from putting the restrictions into effect while the case is considered.
According to Mr. Kirsch, Judge Seybert said she was not ready to make a ruling on the TRO, which she is treating as a motion for preliminary injunction, which typically lasts the duration of litigation. Mr. Kirsch said, however, the judge would set how long the restrictions would be blocked from taking effect.
The regulations implement a curfew banning all flights between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., year-round. Aircraft classified as “noisy” are not be permitted to take off or land between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m., year-round. Furthermore, aircraft classified as “noisy” are allowed only one takeoff and landing per week between May and September.
The Town Board has instituted a ban all aircraft classified as “noisy,” which would affect most helicopters and some older jets.