Friday, May 27, 2016

Some Yonkers Residents Fight Against Proposed Heliport Pad

Kathryn's Report:

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York City’s crackdown on tourist helicopters has some Westchester County residents worried that the copters and their noise might be coming to their neighborhoods.

A parking lot of school buses now sits along the scenic Hudson River on Fernbrook Street in Yonkers. But it could soon be the new home of a heliport for tours over Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

“I think it’s going to help revitalize the whole downtown area here of the city of Yonkers,” Alex McIntosh of Helicopter Flight Services said.

However, as CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, now everyone is pleased. Residents of the nearby Ludlow Park neighborhood don’t want the heliport in their backyard.

“We have to fight that because we don’t want to destroy our community,” Yonkers resident David Wuchinich said.

After years of complaints, New York City legislation will cut the company’s helicopter tours in Lower Manhattan 50 percent by 2017. One reason it is looking to expand operations to Yonkers.

“They’re just trying to test it out, and the answer I hope will be, ‘No, thank you, look elsewhere,’” Yonkers resident Abi Walker said.

Tourists from New York City will travel by bus or the Metro-North Railroad up to the heliport.

The company is proposing three to six flights an hour, seven days a week. Residents are worried the noise and pollution will ruin their tranquil neighborhood.

“There’s a difference between one or two helicopters on occasion, and six helicopters an hour, you know, landing, taking off,” Walker said.

Helicopter Flight Services said noise issues would be taken into consideration.

“We’re going to try and work with the community on the number of hours we work just to have minimal impact,” McIntosh said.

In April, the Yonkers City Council introduced an ordinance to ban heliports, but currently, it’s still allowed.

“We think it is going to be a mistake if the city misses this opportunity,” McIntosh said.

But some residents had just the opposite view.

“They’re businessmen, I can’t blame them, but they’re not going to come here,” Wuchinich said.

The City Council still has to vote on the heliport ban, so this flight fight is far from over.

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