After roughly four months of rudderless direction, the Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee has a new pilot Larry Hoppenhauer, a nearly six-year member of TVASNAC and a Malverne resident, will be the next executive director.
TVASNAC works to mitigate aircraft noise and address other environmental concerns at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Hoppenhauer was offered and accepted the position at the April 23 committee meeting. A Town of Hempstead board resolution needs to be voted on to make the appointment official, which should be done at the May 8 meeting. A new representative from Malverne has yet to be named.
Kevin Denning, the most recent executive director, stepped down, apparently because of the change in leadership as Laura Gillen, a Democrat, became Hempstead town supervisor in January, succeeding Anthony Santino, a Republican. Gillen appointed Joe Davenport, the town’s executive assistant for infrastructure, to serve as liaison to the committee while the search for an executive director was conducted.
“The last four months we were kind of floundering with no direction without an executive director who is up on the issues,” Hoppenhauer said. “This is the first opportunity that someone from the committee is to become the executive director, so there is no learning curve. I want to make more people aware that they have a voice and to let it be heard.”
Founded in 1966, TVASNAC deals with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Federal Aviation Administration. The committee also works with other grassroots organizations to help ensure that residents’ quality of life is not negatively impacted by changes in flight paths and other issues.
TVASNAC is comprised of Atlantic Beach, Cedarhurst East Williston, Floral Park, Garden City, Lawrence, Malverne, New Hyde Park, Stewart Manor, Valley Stream and Woodsburgh. All incorporated villages.
“Larry’s an excellent choice, he’s got good experience involved with the roundtables,” said Carl Baessler, the Atlantic Beach representative, the most senior member of TVASNAC, who has served since August 1991. “He will do an excellent job and we are 100 percent behind him.”
Established by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the roundtable meetings occur four times a year. Elected officials, community leaders and business people makeup the 80-plus people who address issues on JFK and LaGuardia airports. Without an executive director, the Town of Hempstead-sponsored committee was not being represented.
“You always need a leader, a liaison, a person who sets the agenda,” said Akiva Lubin, the TVASNAC representative from Lawrence for nearly three years.
Hoppenhauer noted that TVASNAC should have input on the governor’s JFK project that calls for a $10 billion overhaul of the airport similar to the work being done at LaGuardia. It addresses roadway access to and from the airport on the Van Wyck Expressway and at the Kew Gardens Interchange.
There are also recommendations to double the capacity of the AirTrain, improve the subway and Long Island Rail Road connections to the AirTrain Jamaica station and explore the viability of what state officials called “a one-seat rail ride to the airport.” The plan also entails centralizing parking, amenities such as fine dining, duty-free shopping, best-in-class retail, and conference and meeting room facilities, expanding the taxiways and installing state-of-the-art security technology.
“Legislatively, there is more to do and be communicated to Albany and Washington about lowering the DNL (Day-Night Average Sound Level) to 55 (from 65 decibels), changing the system utilized since the 1980s,” Hoppenhauer said, adding that projects such as the current Part 150 noise study that is examining the impact of plane noise in areas within the flight paths of JFK and LaGuardia and the implementation of NextGen at both airports need to be overseen. NextGen is a satellite GPS technology that the FAA says has resulted in $1.6 billion in benefits to airlines and travelers by allowing planes to fly more frequently and closer together, take direct routes and save time and fuel.
To support TVASNAC, the villages pay annual dues depending on size. For the 2017-18 fiscal year, the total operating budget is $14,207. Cedarhurst, Floral Park, Garden City, Lawrence and Valley Stream paid $1,812 each. Atlantic Beach, East Williston, Malverne, New Hyde Park, Stewart Manor and Woodsburgh paid $479 each. The remaining money was generated by $60 in interest and a $2,213 fund balance.
“Larry is an outstanding and committed individual who is truly worthy and qualified to fulfill this role,” Gillen said. “He does a credit to our community and is a proven advocate for a safer and quieter environment.”
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