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Airport 'Workshops' Begin

Wed, 09/08/2021 - 15:38

The first of four public workshops on a re-envisioning of East Hampton Airport will be held tonight at 7. It will be a virtual workshop, held via Zoom video conference, rather than in person at the LTV Media Center in Wainscott, as initially planned. Owing to a significant uptick in the rate of positive Covid-19 tests at the testing sites at the East Hampton Town Hall campus and in Montauk, the town board and other boards and committees have reverted to virtual meetings.

Each airport workshop will begin with a brief presentation, followed by time working in small groups, allowing participants to voice their concerns and opinions about the future of the airport. They will have similar content and format, with the understanding that participants will not be expected to attend more than once.

Additional workshops will happen tomorrow, on Monday, and on Sept. 20. All will start at 7 and last about two hours. Registration and links to the virtual workshops can be found on the town's website.

Peter Flinker, a consultant to the town, told the town board last month that the workshops will "provide as wide an opportunity for people to participate as possible, but over a short period of time. Everyone who wants to will have an opportunity to speak." Comments can also be sent to [email protected] or mailed to Carole Brennan, the town clerk, at 159 Pantigo Road, East Hampton 11937.

Mr. Flinker and Lisa Liquori, another consultant to the town, will develop a summary report based on the workshops and information already presented at work sessions.

The town board has been analyzing and discussing the airport and its future via fact-finding presentations, listening sessions, and other outreach focused on sharing and discussing facts and gathering ideas and opinions from stakeholders and the public at large. Presentations have included reports by consultants in environmental resources, economic analyses, land use and zoning, and airport planning and operations, including diversion.

The board intends to reach consensus built on a common set of facts. It is seeking to identify key issues of concern and to gather public input on a range of opinions — whether the status quo is acceptable, whether a modified or closed airport would be preferable, or, if some modification is desired, what would need to change.

But any decision as to the airport's future will not have been made upon the expiration, this month, of federal grant assurances, board members have said, given the need to better understand the implications or repercussions of whatever may be its decision. Should restrictions on airport operations be imposed, they can also be adjusted, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said.

A decision and enactment of any changes before the end of 2021 would be optimal, he said, well ahead of next year's summer season.

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