Village Board Trustee Mary-Grace Tomecki spoke on behalf of the Noise Abatement Committee at Tuesday night’s Village Board meeting regarding the proposed helicopter track route put forth by State Senator, Charles Schumer. Changes to the route would affect noise levels in the village and to other communities along the LIRR line.
The North Shore Route is a route currently used by helicopters exiting New York City heliports to locations on the east end of Long Island.
“The current route takes helicopters over the Long Island Sound at an altitude of 2,000 feet and is designed to minimize noise on the residential communities below,” said Tomecki. “A helicopter must arrive at its destination which in the case of the North Shore Route, means it must transition from water to land.”
Originally helicopter pilots used their discretion on where to transition from water to land. Two years ago, Senator Schumer lobbied the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) mandating a new transition point for the North Shore Route which is located in the Suffolk community of Mattituck. This angered residents in the area and prompted Schumer to once again propose a new transition point further out on the Island at Orient Point.
“While extending the North Shore Route out to Orient Point will mollify some Long Islanders, it will make the route time prohibitive,” said Tomecki. “To avoid the extra time of traveling to Orient Point, helicopter operators will be left with no choice but to select an alternative route. The only available alternative is the Track Route.”
The Track Route requires pilots to navigate above the main LIRR line, which includes the villages of Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Stewart Manor and Garden City. Unlike the North Shore Route, however, pilots are required to fly at 500 feet above land, well within earshot of residents. The route is regularly used in the spring and summer months. If Senator Schumer’s proposal to extend North Shore Route out to Orient Point is approved, the addition of time will cause helicopter operators to rely on the Track Route.
“The real solution to helicopter noise over Long Island is not extending the over-the water portion of the North Shore Route, but to eliminate the rule that mandates the transition point over Mattituck,” said Tomecki. “Allowing pilots to fan out their approaches to East End airports and heliports will eliminate the concentration of noise over a few homes in the south fork and preserve the viability of the North Shore Route.”
Prior to the start of the meeting, Mayor Tweedy presented citations to six Girl Scouts honoring them on being recipients of the Gold Award. “As a Girl Scout, you are part of a sisterhood, a global movement that comprises more than 10 million girls worldwide who are using their talents to positively impact their communities,” said Mayor Tweedy.