Skip to main content

Private Helipad Draws Residents’ Attention

Thu, 02/24/2022 - 09:35
A sand mine on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton has a private helipad, at least on paper. Whether its use for takeoffs and landings would be allowed remains in doubt.
Christopher Walsh

Amid the East Hampton Town Board’s planning to shift East Hampton Airport to a restricted, “private-use” facility, some residents concerned about diversion of aircraft to other parts of the town have focused their attention on a helipad at the Bistrian Materials supply yard on Springs-Fireplace Road.

During the town board’s meeting last Thursday, the board fielded calls from residents including Joseph Segilia and Jacki Esposito, both of Springs. Mr. Segilia referred to social media posts that a helipad at the Bistrian site “has recently been expanded, repaved, and repainted.”

The site “already creates a number of nuisances including traffic congestion and noise, and creates dust in the whole area,” Mr. Segilia said. “You can imagine how that dust would be spread even further with helicopters landing and taking off, causing problems for anyone with respiratory issues who lives or works nearby.”

He was apparently referring to posts on the NextDoor site by Kathryn Slye of the East Hampton Aviation Association, who has harshly criticized the board for its plans for the airport. Several times in the last week, she has replied to other posts, posting photographs of the helipad and stating, in one, that the town “initially forgot” the helipad existed “when they first announced their plans to permanently close” East Hampton Airport, despite ample warnings of unintended consequences from aviation interests. “Since it’s private there’s not a single thing the town can do to prevent its use in whatever manner the owners choose,” she wrote. “In anticipation of this the helipad was recently repaved, repainted, and auxiliary buildings renovated.”

“We have become aware of the improvements made at the Bistrian sand pit and we are looking into that,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc told Mr. Segilia. “I don’t believe that there are any permits or site plan review that has been applied for or has taken place. We will continue to press forward investigating that situation, I can assure you of that.”

Mr. Segilia allowed that the social media posts could be “simply a ruse or a scare tactic to discourage any changes that you’re considering to the existing airport.” Groups opposing the implementation of restrictions on aircraft at East Hampton Airport “have shown their propensity for fearmongering and divisiveness in the past,” he said.

East Hampton Town prohibits helicopters from landing in most places, other than airports.

Ms. Esposito pointed out that the town code chapter pertaining to aircraft is explicit in its language regarding helicopters: “No person, firm, or corporation shall land or cause to be landed, take off or cause to take off, or taxi any helicopter on or from the waters, beaches or on any land within the Town of East Hampton except on Gardiner’s Island, the Town Airport, and the Montauk Airport,” it says.

Addressing Springs residents, Ms. Esposito said that “we are going to have to unite. There is no way that helicopters will be landing on Springs-Fireplace Road. I think this is further evidence that helicopters, unless for emergency use, have no business landing in Montauk, East Hampton, or Springs.”

The pilots’ website lists “Bistrians Heliport” in East Hampton as a private-use facility with permission required to land at its 30-by-30-foot pad.

An employee in the office at Bistrians Materials said on Tuesday that there was no one on site who could speak about the helipad. Also on Tuesday, Joanne Pilgrim, Mr. Van Scoyoc’s chief of staff, repeated in an email the supervisor’s statement last Thursday. “The town is looking into the situation regarding the Bistrian helipad,” she said.

Thank you for reading . . . 
...Your support for The East Hampton Star helps us deliver the news, arts, and community information you need. Whether you are an online subscriber, get the paper in the mail, delivered to your door in Manhattan, or are just passing through, every reader counts. We value you for being part of The Star family.

Your subscription to The Star does more than get you great arts, news, sports, and outdoors stories. It makes everything we do possible.