RIVERHEAD - Angry North Fork officials met with the FAA Monday about a decision to allow noisy helicopters to fly overhead for another four years.
Recently, the FAA extended a rule that requires helicopters take a route over the North Fork to get to airports in the Hamptons. Some North Fork residents argue that since the airports are on the South Shore, the helicopters should take a southern route over the ocean and not over their homes.
Rep. Lee Zeldin and other political leaders say the FAA extended the northern route without any public comment.
Zeldin says a South Shore route was never considered by the FAA and that he was told "political pressure" came from New York's senior Sen. Charles Schumer to keep the northern route.
“Sen. Schumer was given at least 30 days’ notice of this decision, and we all found out about it after the decision was made and moments before it was made public,” said Zeldin.
Some town leaders, including Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, say they are so upset with the latest information that they are taking the unusual step of calling on the public to peacefully protest outside the FAA and Schumer’s office.
“We found out today that Sen. Schumer negotiated what I will call a secret deal with the FAA to put this flawed North Shore route into effect without the public’s input,” said Walter.
News 12 emailed the FAA for a comment on this story, but has not heard back.