By Mike Adams and Anthony Murray
Nearly a month after the Town of North Hempstead approved a measure allowing it to consider filing a suit in tandem with local villages against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to try to alleviate excessive plane noise in the area, the villages within the town remain divided on the issue.
Anton Media Group reached out to all 30 villages within the Town of North Hempstead, as well as the Village of Upper Brookville, which signed a memorandum of understanding with the town and the Village of East Hills to pursue legal action. Of the 31 villages, Upper Brookville and East Hills remain the only two that confirmed they would support a suit. Of the 12 villages that responded to requests for comment on their support, four villages—New Hyde Park, Kings Point, Great Neck Plaza and Lake Success—said definitively that they would not join the suit.
Instead of joining the FAA lawsuit, the Village of New Hyde Park said they would instead file a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies to combat the opioid crisis at a recent board meeting.
“The village board decided in early November that the Village of New Hyde Park should participate in a lawsuit on behalf of the village to recover future and potential costs incurred due to the opioid crisis,” said Mayor Lawrence Montreuil. “The over prescriptions of opioids has wreaked havoc on the general population and is also causing a burden on public resources. Many villages in New York are participating and the village board feels it should also participate. It is estimated that the village could receive $750,000 to $1.2 million to offset any costs it incurs.”
Another six—Roslyn, East Williston, North Hills, Floral Park, Sands Point and Kensington—said their final decision was pending further discussion.
The Village of East Hills has agreed to contribute $40,000 to legal proceedings.
The Town of North Hempstead met with mayors of the surrounding villages to gameplan the particulars and gauge interest in filing a suit. A number of village officials privy to the meeting’s details said they were quoted a figure of $25,000 in total for the cost of a preliminary study.
This past June, members of the Nassau County Legislature, along with other town and village officials, announced tangible steps they would take to reduce excessive airplane noise.
Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello, who is a resident of New Hyde Park, said that the legislature will be setting up a bi-partisan special committee to investigate, provide the public with greater information and seek solutions to reduce the airplane noise.
California-based aviation lawyer Stephen Taber said appeals court proceedings tend to be less expensive than trial court proceedings, but the cost of just filing a petition for review to start the process of getting the FAA into appeals court can still run upwards of six figures to just under $1 million.
A more realistic course of action than trying to get the FAA into a trial court, Taber said, is to appeal a decision the administration made and send the matter to the U.S. Court of Appeals, whereupon both sides can enter mediation and hash out a compromise.
The mayors who spoke to Anton Media Group confirmed that the course of action was the one being discussed should the town and villages move forward with legal action.