Suozzi supports CM’s heli noise resolution

March 15, 2018
Ryan Brady
The Queens Chronicle

Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) has a new ally in his effort to stop the helicopter noise that infuriates many in northeast Queens.

Last Thursday, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens) announced that he sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration endorsing a resolution about the issue, which Vallone introduced in the Council in 2015. The resolution calls on the FAA to change the North Shore Helicopter Route so that the choppers fly over water rather than Whitestone, Malba Gardens and Bay Terrace. Residents of the neighborhoods have long complained about the noise.

“I represent thousands of constituents in Northeast Queens who are constantly bombarded by helicopter noise on a daily basis,” the congressman said in a prepared statement. “Helicopter traffic is only going to intensify as the weather warms and affluent vacationers make their getaways to the East End of Long Island.”

Suozzi is a co-chairman of the the Quiet Skies Caucus, a congressional body composed of lawmakers opposed to problematic airplane noise that affects their constituents.

The FAA had mandated in 2012 that pilots flying helicopters between New York City and the East End take the North Shore route, which flies farther east over the Long Island Sound. The path, which the FAA gave a four-year extension to in 2016, was first created as an optional one in 2008.

“Having Congressmember Suozzi’s support of the resolution is a great step,” the councilman told the Chronicle last Friday.

Vallone was appointed the chairman of the Committee on Economic Development earlier this year.

“We’re also looking forward to an upcoming hearing we’re going to have shortly through [the city Economic Development Corp.] about helicopter usage in New York City,” he added.

We Love Whitestone Civic Association Vice President George Mirtsopolous is pleased that the congressman is supporting the resolution.

“We applaud Representative Tom Suozzi’s support of Council Member Vallone’s resolution to the FAA to move the current North Shore Helicopter Route from flying directly over Whitestone and surrounding communities” the activist said in a prepared statement.

The FAA declined to provide a statement to the Chronicle, saying that it would “respond directly to” Suozzi.