Immersed in several Five Towns organizations, what is one more “job” to James Vilardi as the Hewlett resident who grew up in Inwood was named the executive director of the Town of Hempstead’s Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee.
“Don Clavin asked me to do it,” said Vilardi, the owner of Valley Steam-based Bedford Construction Group that builds housing across Nassau County. Clavin is the town supervisor. “It is kind of interesting and the people on the committee are dedicated to the issue,” Vilardi added, saying committee members are well versed on the issues and “I view my role to take all their accumulated institutional knowledge to effect incremental change.”
Established in 1966, TVASNAC originally consisted of representatives from 10 villages from what was designated as the southwest quarter of Nassau County. Atlantic Beach, Cedarhurst, Floral Park, Garden City, Lawrence, Malverne, New Hyde Park, Stewart Manor, Valley Stream and Woodsburgh are the villages. Other communities, such as Inwood also have representatives on the committee.
“It’s difficult to get the feds to do something positive for the communities,” said Cedarhurst Trustee Dan Plaut, who serves on the committee. “I have a good feeling with Vilardi getting things done with his vast experience and his business and government acumen.” Plaut said the committee wants to improve residents’ quality of life and not always have the planes roaring over their homes.
The committee is tasked with communicating with the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey and the Federal Aviation Administration on aircraft noise and environmental issues regarding John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Over its 54 years, TVASNAC has served as a voice to help ensure that JFK Airport does not overload the communities with aircraft noise from arriving and departing planes, made sure that airport capital projects did not inconvenience residents any more than necessary and aimed to decrease aircraft noise pushing for technological upgrades and studies.
Vilardi, who succeeds Malverne resident Larry Hoppenhauer, understands he has an uphill battle. “Seems like the FAA is a very powerful agency, I figure incremental change is not going to be easy,” Vilardi said. “Working together with other committee members we are going to draft a new mission statement and identify achievable goals. We won’t ask for too much but look to lessen the noise and improve people’s quality of life. We should be able to get to things done.”
The new executive director was diving into the minutia, including the Part 150 study that is examining the impact of plane noise in areas under the flight paths of Kennedy and LaGuardia. “We are looking for the middle ground, we don’t want to jeopardize passenger safety,” Vilardi said, adding that is aiming to have the local FAA administrator speak at TVASNAC’s September meeting.
“As a lifelong resident of the Five Towns, James Vilardi has made it his life’s work to make his community a better place in which to live, work and raise a family,” Clavin said. His commitment to the many civic and humanitarian organizations throughout America’s largest township is without equal, and I am confident that he will be a dedicated leader on the TVASNAC committee and a true advocate for local residents.”