Neighbors want Republic Airport expansion grounded

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Neighbors fumed at a public meeting Tuesday night on a planned development project at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale.

They say they don't trust state officials, and they fear a planned $30 million expansion will bring commercial flights to the airport and negatively impact their community.

"Our main concern is the development of the airport into commercial flights," says John Risi. "Or freight."

State officials say the Stratosphere Development and Talon Air plan would develop 54 acres around the existing airport, add 13,000 square feet to the main terminal and install more asphalt for planes.

A new report from the Department of Transportation says the expansion won't harm the environment or hurt quality of life for nearby residents -- and dozens of those residents disagree. They worry about noise and a decline in the value of their porperty.

Airport Chairman Frank Nocerino says he wants to restore trust between airport officials and the community. 

"Committee members are all community members," Nocerino says. "This affects us too as the community. As the chairman of Republic Airport, I'll do my best to make sure they adhere to the rules."

Airport officials say they're compiling a list of residents' concerns and that they will bring them to state lawmakers in Albany if necessary.

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