Aviation roundtable structure still being debated ahead of March meeting

By Madina Toure

Members of the New York Community Aviation Roundtable, formed to address the airplane noise around Queens’ two major airports, are still at odds over the roundtable structure and have yet to vote on bylaws.

The roundtable meeting is scheduled to take place March 10 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Room 213 at Queens Borough Hall at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens. The discussion will center on sections of the bylaws that remained in question at the last meeting and membership recommendations.

Barbara Brown, chairwoman of the interim coordinating committee and chairwoman of the Eastern Queens Alliance, said the committee revised the bylaws based on input from the September and November 2015 meetings.

“We’ve been going through the bylaws section by section and revising as we discuss the issues,” Brown said. “On March 10, we are again presenting the bylaws based on feedback we’ve gotten and hopefully we will be able to vote on them.”

In March 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a directive to the Port Authority to start two roundtables, one for each airport.

After pushback from the community, with the Queens Quiet Skies preferring one roundtable and the Eastern Queens Alliance favoring two roundtables, the PA announced in February 2015 that the structure would be one roundtable with two committees for each airport.

The original committee, a temporary bylaws committee, consisted of Janet McEneaney, president of Queens Quiet Skies, and Brown as co-chairwomen; Warren Schreiber and Kendall Lampkin as co-vice chairmen; and Richard Hellenbrecht as secretary. McEneaney and Lampkin left the committee in the summer of 2015.

In the draft bylaws, the committee had included Queens Quiet Skies, the Eastern Queens Alliance and the Queens Civic Congress, granting each two votes, and the Town Village Aircraft Safety and Noise Abatement Committee in Nassau, which got seven votes.

But the committee decided to create an application process, extending the deadline to March 1 from Feb. 24 to make the process fairer.

The committee will present recommendations for roundtable members to vote on at the March meeting.

Schreiber said the decision was meant to make a fairer process.

He said neither he nor CB 7 has taken a position on whether they prefer one roundtable or two roundtables and that there is no roundtable without bylaws.

“I have high hopes that that will happen, but that’s up to the members,” he said about the vote on bylaws.

But McEneaney said the roundtable is “basically two roundtables.”

“I did not know whether Queens Quiet Skies would apply for membership because I have fought for three years for a real professional roundtable,” she said.

Susan Carroll, a roundtable representative, said she initially wanted one roundtable but the original committee members agreed to draft bylaws based on the current structure.

“I guess it wasn’t very democratic,” Carroll said. “I’m not on the coordinating committee, but I do understand the thought process.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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