NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A plan to change airline restrictions at a popular Westchester county airport has surrounding communities alarmed.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, you can smell the jet fuel in the air from some residential streets in Westchester county.
“The planes come in right behind those trees across the street,” Rye Brook resident Peter Schloctus said.
Neighbors are worried about the possibility that the airport could be getting a lot busier.
“This is the Village of Rye Brook and you can see the airport’s located immediately to the north. we have, you know, Greenwich right to the east, North Castle further north, and to the west Harrison and Purchase,” Rye Brook Village Manager, Chris Bradley explained.
County Executive Rob Astorino has asked for a change in restrictions that airlines currently operate under. It would remove the current limit of 480 passengers an hour and replace it with a daily cap to accommodate surges in traffic.
“We have an asset here that we want to make sure is being used appropriately,” County Executive’s Spokesman Ned McCormack said.
The county said under current restrictions, one big jet can tie up the entire commercial side of the airport. They’ll like the flexibility to be able to use all four gates at one time. Critics said it’s a slippery slope.
“This could possibly turn into LaGuardia North, and we don’t want to see that happen,” Rye Brook Mayor Paul Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg sent a letter to the county and neighboring towns expressing alarm that the process is bypassing the airport’s advisory board.
Looking at the open spaces on the airport they say the fear of a LaGuardia type expansion is not unjustified.
“The airport is big enough to support the same number of runways and terminals, etc. It’s got just as much land as LaGuardia or more,” Rye Brook resident Peter Schloctus said.
The airport’s terminal use agreement is up for discussion next week at the county legislature.
The county already exempts airlines from restrictions during peak holiday travel times.
Delta, JetBlue, American, and united all fly domestic flights out of Westchester.