Nassau County Aviation Committee to combat jet noise

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The advocacy group Plane Sense 4 Long Island has spent the past four months asking state lawmakers to help form an organization to address jet noise in Nassau County. Currently, 17 elected officials have joined the Nassau County Aviation Committee, which formed last month.

“We said that we need something here that truly represents the residents of Nassau County,” said Malvernite Elaine Miller, the committee’s co-founder.

Miller, who has spent several years raising awareness about jet noise in Nassau County through Plane Sense, said that the county is still under-represented in the roundtable discussions between the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration. Miller said that through the committee, she hopes elected officials will develop a better relationship with the FAA.

“We’re the forgotten child,” Miller said. “We want to establish this committee as a viable organization that the FAA needs to answer to.”

U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Democrat from Garden City, was among the first elected officials to join the committee earlier this year. In addition, with help from County Legislator Josh Lafazan, a North Shore Democrat, the group was able to secure Nassau Community College as a venue to hold public meetings.

“It’s a great start, but we’re hoping that more elected officials will get on board with this, and that they see how important it is to be a part of this committee,” said Jana Goldenberg, another committee co-founder. “Every elected official that we spoke to is saying that it’s about time Nassau County’s voice gets heard.”

State Assemblywoman Judy Griffin, who serves Malverne, said that she has been aware of her constituents’ concerns over jet noise for years, which is why she supports the committee.

“The residents of Assembly District 21 have waited long enough to have these issues addressed, as the noise has seriously impacted their ability to enjoy the peace and quiet of suburban living they value so greatly,” Griffin said in a statement. “With the formation of this committee, I believe that the voices of Nassau County residents will finally be heard and understood. I look forward to working together with the [Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee] and Plane Sense 4 Long Island in order to find a practical solution in a timely manner.”

Goldenberg said that at the group’s first meeting, which is scheduled for April 30 at Nassau Community College’s College Center Building in room 252/253, from 7 to 9 p.m., residents can address concerns in a public forum with elected officials. “It’s a win-win for everybody,” Goldenberg said. “So far, our members are ecstatic that we got this done.”

Goldenberg and Miller said that Plane Sense has made strides in finding easier ways to file noise complaints than going through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s website, where residents have to fill out a form or call a jet noise hotline. Through the use of Airnoise — a handheld device that logs complaints with the click of a button — members of Plane Sense have been able to keep tabs on the occurrence of jet noise. However, getting a response from the FAA and the Port Authority about this issue has still been a challenge, according to Goldenberg.

“A lot of our representatives don’t want to be on the roundtable discussions because they say nothing is being done, and they don’t want to waste their time,” Goldenberg said. “It’s been a difficult journey, but with this committee, we’ve gotten the ball rolling. These elected officials that are on board have really stepped up to the plate.”

Moving forward, the group also wants to collaborate with other local groups such as the TVASNAC, which includes the villages of Atlantic Beach, Cedarhurst, Lawrence, Woodsburgh, East Williston, Floral Park, Garden City, Malverne, New Hyde Park, Stewart Manor and Valley Stream.

“The bottom line is, we want results. We’ve heard the same thing over and over again too many times,” Miller said. “It really needs to be voiced across Nassau County because it affects so many people.”

Have an opinion on plane noise in Nassau County? Send your letter to the editor at ngrant@liherald.com.