Tenuous peace between TEB users, neighbors

 - December 21, 2006, 6:26 AM

A November 27 town meeting about the effect of voluntary operational restrictions at Teterboro Airport raised questions about how long the cooperative spirit would last between the airport’s neighbors and users.

In October the Teterboro Airport Working Group, which represents the airport’s tenants and users, and the local residents, represented by Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J), seemed for the first time to be working together in a constructive manner to address the issues of safety, noise and pollution that have plagued the airport and its neighbors. The two groups announced that month that airport users had agreed to voluntary operational measures that would alleviate the neighbors’ concerns.

The results of those restrictions were announced at the town meeting, and the two groups have different opinions about the success of the program thus far. Since operators adopted the voluntary restrictions, nighttime operations have declined by 14 percent and Stage 2 flights by 19 percent over the same period last year. Airport users interpret those numbers to suggest that the voluntary restraints have produced real progress.

Local residents take a different view and voiced the same objections they made before the October meeting. At the November meeting they did not acknowledge either the reductions the voluntary restraints have produced or the efforts of the airport users.

Noise Legislation Possible
According to press reports, Rothman is considering trying to make Teterboro’s voluntary restrictions law, a move that will likely restore the acrimony between local residents and airport users.

In a press release after the town meeting James Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation Association and co-chair of the working committee, said, “Last evening’s discussion was an outstanding exchange between the members of the community surrounding Teterboro Airport and the airport operators and tenants. Today’s press announcement is just the start in our initiative to reduce noise and improve safety and security at TEB.”