With its plans to convert East Hampton Airport (KHTO) into a private-use East Hampton Town Airport (KJPX) at least temporarily thwarted by legal action, the Long Island, New York town has requested that its attorneys begin the process of shutting down the airport entirely. Facing what it described as a “mountain of litigation” from stakeholders and groups such as NBAA, which filed lawsuits over the town’s plan to shutter the airport on May 17 and reopen it days later as the publicly-owned, permission-required, private-use KJPX, the town has decided to move in the opposite direction.
The legal actions resulted in a court-issued temporary restraining order last month. In response, the town board has asked its consulting law firm Cooley LLP to complete the steps to close KJPX “as soon as legally possible.” William O’Connor, a partner in the firm stated that the town’s initial plan, which was intended to address noise and traffic concerns from the more than 32,000 private aircraft and helicopter flights last year by imposing limitations on the size and type of aircraft as well as limit their daily takeoffs and landings, was met with a “remarkable” amount of litigation “by a small minority with seemingly unlimited funds.”
O’Connor left the door open on a possible reopening of the airport at some time in the future “under commonsense regulations.”