YORKTOWN, N.Y. – IBM will be able to make 18 yearly helicopter trips to and from its proposed helipad after a special use permit was approved Monday night by the town’s Planning Board.
The original resolution called for 10 flights, but board members agreed to add more. Bob DeAngelis, manager of engineering and environmental services at IBM, said the company could have made do with 10, but felt more comfortable with a little breathing room.
“Ten is a little tight,” DeAngelis told the board.
Planning Board Chair Richard Fon and board member Ann Kutter were quick to praise IBM for its helpfulness throughout the process.
“I think IBM did a really good job addressing concerns about noise and flight patterns,” Kutter said. “They really went above and beyond.”
Company pilot George Smiley has said IBM uses the Fly Neighborly program, meaning the company’s helicopters fly slower and higher when entering residential areas.
In addition to noise concerns, IBM had to answer questions about complying with accessibility guidelines in the Americans with Disabilities Act and about helicopters possibly interfering with flights from the Westchester County Airport. Both the county and the board were satisfied with the answers.
“I think the biggest question that came up was, ‘Will it impact the airport?’ ” Fon said. “It came back that there are no impacts to the county’s facilities or services.”
The approved resolution will allow IBM to carry out “no more than 18 flights” per year for a period of two years. The initial resolution allowed only for one year, but board member John Savoca felt a two-year permit was more appropriate because of IBM’s substantial investment in constructing the helipad.