The Yonkers City Council has blocked a helicopter tour company’s plans to build a heliport in the Ludlow Section of Yonkers – a project that had prompted an outcry from local residents, concerned about potential noise and pollution.
The HeliNY sightseeing company was set to buy a parcel of land between the Domino Sugar factory and the Westchester County Wastewater Treatment Plant in order to build a heliport for tour flights passing over Riverdale from Yonkers to the Statue of Liberty and back. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to block the plan and remove heliports from the approved building codes.
“We are cautiously thrilled,” said Ruth Montgomery, a former president of the Ludlow Park Residents Association. “We are alert to the fact that HeliNY may try to do this through other means. They are part of a very powerful industry and they like getting their way.”
The helicopter tourism industry has faced growing backlash since January, when New York City Mayor de Blasio announced an agreement that would cut the number of heli-tourism companies in half by 2017.
As a result, companies such as HeliNY are looking for new locations outside the city to set up their businesses. In a presentation to Ludlow residents on May 23, HeliNY estimated it would be open for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, taking out three to six flights every hour. The total annual number of flights would be somewhere between 13,140 and 26,280 flights.
Residents rallied support against HeliNY, joining Stop The Chop New York and New Jersey, a group that has been fighting helicopter tours over residential neighborhoods, and a coalition of teachers at Riverdale schools, which would also be affected by the noise. HeliNY representatives were not available for comment at press time.
“It would not have happened if we didn’t make this effort,” Ms. Montgomery said. “We thank all the Riverdale residents who replied and helped make this effort so successful.”