Montauk Airport on LI Sold to Undisclosed Private Buyer
By: Benyamin Davidsons
Montauk Airport, the small, privately owned airport has been sold, one owner confirmed last Tuesday. “The airport has changed hands,” Perry (Chip) Duryea, a long-time owner told The East Hampton Star. The transaction closed on June 14. Mr. Duryea said. The identity of the new buyer has not been disclosed at this time. “I am sure they will reveal their identity at the proper time,” he added.
As reported by The Star, Leonard Ackerman, an East Hampton attorney who was involved in the transaction, also confirmed the sale of the airstrip near the end of East Lake Drive, adding that he could not reveal the new buyer’s identity. Mr. Duryea, whose father was one of the partners who developed the airport and who has himself served as president of the corporation since his father’s death said, “this is the end of a long journey.” He added that he will “serve in a transition capacity for the next few weeks” and “do what I can to assist” as the new ownership takes over.
The 40-acre privately owned, public use airport, built in 1957, has taken on a large role in the heated debate over the planned privatization of the bigger East Hampton Town Airport. In recent years, the town board sought to make changes and enact restrictions to the main airport in East Hampton. On May 17th, that airport was set to close as a public airport and reopen as a private airport. A judge foiled those plans, however, issuing a temporary restraining order prohibiting the restrictions from being set. Residents had feared that the main airport’s privatization would lead more air traffic for Montauk’s airport. The complains, and a lawsuit by five residents, led Justice Paul Baisley of New York State Supreme Court to issue the restraining order a day before the planned closure. One modification, which did go through, was that the airport’s designation has changed from HTO to JPX.
The town had wanted to set curfews at the East Hampton airport and impose restrictions on how many aircrafts can takeoff and land per day. Those changes are now on hold. The town has filed an appeal to the temporary restraining order. The town also asked its outside council to “begin the process of understanding and completing the steps to closing JPX as soon as legally possible,” said William O’Connor of the Cooley law firm, earlier in June.
On Tuesday, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said that due to the restraining order, he is not worried now about diversion of extra air traffic to Montauk. The town “had sought to study what the impacts might be” of the planned restrictions for the East Hampton Town Airport, “and respond accordingly. Unless and until we can move forward, we won’t be able to do that.” He noted, however, that “there is always concern about increased traffic at all airports, especially out here,” explaining that there is “a significant amount of growth” at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach. “We know the heliport in Southampton is pretty much at capacity. The natural progression of things is that any airport in the area would continue to see growth like that, whether there’s a JPX or not.”