Judge delays East Hampton aircraft bans — again

A federal judge said Wednesday she needs more time to rule on a challenge to laws that would restrict flights into and out of East Hampton’s airport.

Judge Joanna Seybert originally said she would rule on the challenge by Monday, but now has extended that until June 26, according to a press release from the East Hampton Town Board.

The federal judge heard arguments  last month from a helicopter pilot’s organization and aviation interests protesting legislation passed by the town that would limit some flights at the airport that use flight patterns over communities on Shelter Island and the North and South forks.

The town had delayed implementing the laws, set to take effect Memorial Day weekend, preferring to wait for the judge’s ruling before taking action, and will now wait again for her ruling.

In the release the East Hampton Town Board said it “remains confident that it will prevail in the litigation, however, out of respect for the judicial process, the town has agreed to continue to not enforce the local laws pending the Court’s decision.”

In April the board passed the legislation that would impose a complete shut down of flights into or out of the airport from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and banned what it’s termed “noisy” aircraft from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. It also passed a town law limiting noisy aircraft to a single landing and takeoff each week during the summer season.

Judge Seybert cited “the complexity of the case” as the reason for the delay in ruling on the challenge.

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