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Yorktown IBM Neighbor Fights Helistop After Plane Crash

YORKTOWN, N.Y. — When a small plane crashed on the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center property in Yorktown two weeks ago, the worst fears of nearby resident Michael Byrnes were realized.

The plane's two occupants escaped without serious injury. But the scary incident was fresh in Byrnes' mind when he addressed the Yorktown Town Board on Tuesday. He opposes a proposed amendment to a zoning ordinance that would allow helistops to be built in office building districts, of which there are three in town, including IBM.

"This is not about IBM. This is about safety," said Byrnes, who lives nearby on Chadeayne Road. "I'm fearful of what just happened last week. Helicopters are whacking around above us all the time. This is just ridiculous. It's about safety. That's all it is."

IBM is seeking to install a helistop to transport passengers to and from its site during daytime and nighttime hours.

Resident Ray Arnold alerted the Town Board to change its proposed language in the amendment from heliport to helistop because heliports involve fueling and maintenance of helicopters.

The hearing was adjourned by the Town Board to be continued at a future date.

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