Everyone in Round Hill and backcountry is aware of the presence of the nearby Westchester (NY) County Airport. The noise and flight patterns are routinely evident, but there are other facts that are less well known. For instance, it is the 3rd busiest airport in the state, occupies over 700 acres (larger than LaGuardia), and 85% of the traffic is from private/corporate jets. And now, the County is upgrading a new Master Plan for the 21st century and seeking input from the community which may affect the quality of life in northwest Greenwich.
According to the website hpnmasterplan.com, the County is studying opportunities to increase Airport value to residents and businesses, while addressing noise and environmental concerns related to improvements. The process pledges to not expand the footprint, increase limits on commercial flights, or eliminate the voluntary curfew on overnight flights. At the same time, it is looking to enlarge safety protocols, upgrade passenger experience, assess the physical condition of the property, analyze the economic impact, and review noise and environmental issues. The public is invited to comment and participate in the process through open forums; the first was on 5/24, and the next two are on 6/2 at Manhattanville College and 6/9 at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry. Details of time and place are on the website above. People are also encouraged to voice their opinions or concerns online.
As with any project of this impact, a Coalition To Prevent Airport Expansion has been formed and includes several organizations and individuals in united advocacy to ensure airport policy prioritizes public health/safety, the environment, and preservation of quality of life. They are against airport expansion and want restrictions in place to limit it. They believe every operational decision deserves careful consideration of its short and long-term impact on airport capacity and the environment.
The Coalition is particularly concerned about the request from private jet companies that want to replace and expand hangars which could increase the number of non-commercial flights. They also cite the surging number of noise complaints, unresponsive air pollution recommendations, below EPA standards on drinking water, and lack of TSA and baggage checks for private flights. For more information on the coalition, get their newsletter, or participate, visit coalition-to-prevent-westchester-airport-expansion.org. A video of a 5/12 Coalition meeting can also be viewed at vimeo.com/709719112 for more information.