Members of the Nassau County Legislature, along with other town and village officials, recently joined in Floral Park to announce the tangible steps they will take to reduce excessive airplane noise. For the last few years, air traffic from John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports have constantly flown flight paths over Nassau County resident’s houses. The noise, which some days happen every 30 to 60 seconds, interrupts activities, disrupts sleep, and even forces some to leave their neighborhoods. In fact, during the press conference itself, speakers had to pause for long periods of time because the airplane noise was drowning out their words.
Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello, who is also a resident of New Hyde Park, said that the legislature will be setting up a bi-partisan special committee to investigate, provide the public with greater information and seek solutions to reduce the airplane noise. The committee will hold its first hearing in late June at the legislature in Mineola. Additionally, the legislature has submitted a resolution authorizing the county to retain a consultant to evaluate the Port Authority studies on the airplane issue and provide recommendations on behalf of the county and its residents.
“I’ve lived in New Hyde Park my whole life,” said Nicolello. “We’ve always had air traffic, but in recent years it has gotten exponentially worse. Planes are flying lower and are larger and louder. They are frequently coming over our homes for extended periods of time, day and night. The residents deserve an opportunity to be heard and to have their concerns properly addressed by the agencies that control the airports.”
According to Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi, the village will continue to advocate for the equitable distribution of noise from all air traffic across all affected communities.
“We realize that air travel is a necessity and an important part of business and our daily lives,” said Longobardi. “We also realize that we live close to major airports. All that we simply ask is that the noise and deleterious affects that come with constant airplane and helicopter travel be spread out among as many areas as possible so as not to have any one area receive all of the burden.”
The airplane noise even extends to communities such as Valley Stream and Lynbrook on the island’s south shore.
“Residents constantly tell me they can’t stand the airplane noise,” Legislator C. William Gaylor III said. “The Port Authority hasn’t been doing enough to fix this issue. The federal government hasn’t been doing enough and the state hasn’t been doing enough. The residents of Nassau County deserve relief from loud planes flying overhead every 30 to 60 seconds. The flight lines need to be more evenly distributed over Nassau County so no one community gets hit with the noise as often as some are today.”
According to Legislator Vincent Muscarella, who represents Floral Park and New Hyde Park, when people call the FAA to complain about the airplane noise, the FAA claims they haven’t heard any complaints from residents.
“They don’t want to hear from just us, they want to hear from residents,” said Muscarella. “We’re going to do what we need to do on the local level to make our voices heard, but I ask that all residents call the FAA at 1-800-225-1071 and complain about the noise. Do it constantly. Make sure they hear you. Together we will work to find solutions to this issue plaguing our community.”
An Ongoing Matter
The complaints from residents and local elected officials about low flying airplanes is nothing new.
Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a $10 billion plan to transform JFK into a state-of-the-art facility while the Port Authority provided a $355 million project to rehabilitate one of JFK’s major runways. The rehabilitated runway—13L and 31R—handles almost half of JFK’s arriving airplanes and received upgrades that will make it more durable.
In October of last year, the villages of Floral Park and New Hyde Park held Town-Village Aircraft Safety and Noise Abatement Committee (TVASNAC) informational meetings where residents were allowed to voice their concerns about the noise.
“For Floral Park in particular…what the [village] is experiencing is the arrivals,” said Andrew Weiss, the Floral Park representative on TVASNAC during last year’s meeting. “What we’re actually hearing are the planes coming in and the wind turbulence bouncing off the fuselage of the airplane. We’re not getting the engine thrust that we would get if we lived in the departure zone. There’s two ways to use a runway and we’re on the arrival side.”