11 towns combine to battle Teterboro
By Lisa Goodnight, Staff Writer
CARLSTADT Teterboro Airport has a new foe.
Officials from 11 towns decided Thursday to form a committee to fight airplane noise and pollution.
The meeting, which drew about 40 people, was called by Carlstadt officials who have fielded dozens of noise and pollution complaints from residents. The officials said they did not want to take on the airport alone.
"Were not asking them to close up and move out," said Carlstadt Councilman Craig Lahullier. "We need some concessions from these people. Its no way to live."
The officials included mayors, council members, and town managers. Besides forming the committee, the officials said they will ask for federal and state environmental studies and will meet again next month after their governing bodies consider funding the fight.
Lahullier said he hopes the committee will get at least $50,000 (about $5,000 each from 10 towns) to pay for lawyers and independent environmental studies.
Carlstadt residents are complaining about soot on awnings and automobiles, which some believe comes from aircraft fuel.
Adam Zellner, district director for Rep. Steven R. Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, said legislation is pending that could fund the environmental studies.
While supporting the effort, Moonachie Mayor Fred Dressel added a voice of caution. He said the group needs a written mission statement and a realistic plan.
"Theres no sense in running into a wall," he said. "We need to know where we can be effective."
Dressel is a founding member of another committee formed to address some of the same objectives. But many say that panel, the Teterboro Aircraft Noise Abatement and Advisory Committee, has been ineffective. Dressel said meaningful change will happen only if aviation rules are changed at the federal level.
Hackensack Mayor John Zisa invited the officials to an Oct. 24 meeting that will be attended by state elected officials.
After the meeting, some said it was too soon to say if they would join in a class action lawsuit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owner of the airport. Teterboro is considered one of the nations busiest small or so-called general aviation airports.
Hasbrouck Heights Mayor William Torre raised concerns about safety and reminded the audience about a December accident in which a plane bound for Teterboro plummeted into a back yard of a Hasbrouck Heights home killing the four people on the plane.
"We were very lucky that no one on the ground was killed," Torre said.
A Port Authority spokesman has said the agency is willing to work with local officials and with aircraft planes. The spokesman said the Port Authority also is funding soundproofing projects at 73 schools in New York and New Jersey.
As for the concerns about the fuel, the spokesman said he could not comment because it could be part of a lawsuit.