The Nassau County Legislature is creating a new committee on aircraft noise, an issue that county and village officials said has been worsening in recent years.
The Legislature also plans to introduce a resolution for the county to hire a consultant to study the problem, Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) told a news conference last Thursday. The consultant would review reports from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the local airports, and advocate for the county, he said.
The bipartisan aircraft noise committee will have its first hearing near the end of June, Nicolello said, to provide residents with a chance to hear from officials and voice concerns.
“I’ve lived in the New Hyde Park community my entire life and there has been airplane noise all that time, but in the last several years it has become exponentially worse,” he said. “Planes are coming in lower. They are larger planes. They are louder. They wake you up at night as if you hear thunder.”
He announced the initiatives on the front lawn of Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi’s home, where planes often drowned out the speakers.
They come every 60 to 90 seconds on their way to John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, Nicolello said.
Residents have moved out of Floral Park because of airplane noise, Longobardi said.
“I want to thank the county for taking up this initiative,” he said. “This is something that has been a problem for this community, the noise from airplanes, for many, many years. We have worked diligently trying to get the FAA and those who are in charge of the airports to understand what that plane noise means to all of our residents and that was to no avail.”
The Federal Aviation Authority does not consider airplane noise to be an issue in particular areas unless it gets direct complaints, said Legislator Vincent Muscarello (R-West Hempstead), encouraging residents to directly call the agency.
Nicolello said he is in favor of more even distribution of air traffic throughout the region.
“All these communities have had aircrafts flying over their neighborhoods, so it’s not something that’s going to be new, but there are some approaches to the airport that kind of minimize intrusion,” he said.
The key is having Long Island’s congressional representatives pressure the Federal Aviation Administration, he said.
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) introduced a bill a year ago to amend the FAA Reauthorization Act. President Donald Trump signed the legislation in October, which requires the FAA to study airplane noise exposure, the possibility of phasing out aircraft categorized in the Stage 3 noise level, alternative ways of measuring noise and the impact of aircraft noise on human health and the local economy. It also required airports to update noise exposure maps as part of the effort to modify noise levels.
“The people of Long Island and Queens deserve to live in peace and quiet,” Suozzi said in an October press release.
East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz said he has been working on the issue of airplane noise for years and was unaware of the county’s new initiatives.
“If they’re not including the people that are really involved, I don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “No one ever contacted us.”
He circulated a petition in the village in 2013 that gained thousands of signatures and organized a letter-writing campaign in 2016.
“I’ve wanted the county to be involved for the last eight years,” Koblenz said.