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New Westchester County Airport Plan Unveiled By Latimer

County Executive George Latimer at a Monday news conference outlining steps to reduce noise, water and air pollution at Westchester County Airport.
County Executive George Latimer at a Monday news conference outlining steps to reduce noise, water and air pollution at Westchester County Airport. Video Credit: Official Westchester Gov Videos
County Executive George Latimer at the podium during Monday's Westchester County Airport news conference.. Photo Credit: Contributed

County Executive George Latimer announced new initiatives on Monday, Aug. 13 to reduce noise, water pollution and air emissions at Westchester County Airport.          

“Back in May, we announced a series of public meetings, where we heard from everyone who wished to speak, and each had a chance to talk about the challenges facing the airport," Latimer said during a Monday news conference, which can be viewed below or by clicking here.

Regarding airport operations, by no small margin, the largest numbers of concerns relayed revolved around noise. In response, the Latimer Administration has developed both immediate and longer terms actions to reduce noise and to better respond to noise complaints. 

These actions include:

  • Portable Monitors – the Administration has ordered 10 portable noise monitors which will be ready to be placed in key locations by Aug. 31. 
  • Upgrade Fixed Monitors – the current fixed noise monitoring system includes some monitors that are more than 20 years old, using obsolete technology. 
  • Complaint Handling – The Administration is in the process of automating the complaint response system. 

Director of Operations Joan McDonald said: “These new portable noise monitors will be in place by Aug. 31 and will be located in places where the sources have the largest numbers of complaints and where there is currently insufficient coverage by noise monitors. They will also be placed in locations that will allow us to check the data from the current fixed noise monitors. Once we have sufficient data from these new monitors we will be better prepared to move forward and address longer term actions.”

Further comments heard regarding the airport were focused on air quality. In 2007, the airport completed an “Air Emissions Inventory” which included greenhouse gases and eight additional air pollutants. These actions include:

  • Transitioning to electric ground support and service vehicles
  • Electric jet bridges
  • New boilers
  • Newer more efficient planes
  • Other fuel source changes

The Administration is now starting a current inventory of air emissions and greenhouse gases, creating an air dispersion model, and setting up an emissions monitoring system. The results of the new monitoring system and inventory are expected to take approximately four months to receive back.

Input on the future of Westchester County Airport also included much discussion of water quality. The airport water quality testing program, which ended under the previous Administration, has been resumed. The Administration has located 49 of the monitoring wells, and will begin water sampling by Aug. 31, with preliminary test results expected by the end of September.

County Attorney John Nonna said: “The County has been addressing various water and soil environmental issues of many years at the airport. The most recent issues arose relatively recently. Based upon that, we are in communication with the Department of Environmental Conservation in order to address any needed remedial measures.”

Lastly, Latimer provided an update on the status of the Airport Master Plan. The Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan, along with transcripts of the public hearings and written public comments, were submitted to the FAA by their July 6 deadline. 

Issues including:

  • Insufficient public involvement
  • Lack of a strategic vision
  • Demand forecasts that did not include the Terminal Use Regulations
  • Insufficient environmental reviews

Meanwhile, the the Business Council of Westchester issued a statement saying it is deeply concerned about the future operation and health of the Westchester County Airport. As a result, it recently announced the formation of the Coalition for the Westchester Airport to provide a unified voice for the airport business and employment community, as well as the interests of the business and general traveling public. In the coming weeks the coalition will be an active participant in the dialogue.

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