NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – New Haven’s Airport Authority Board of Directors formally approved a 43-year-long lease of Tweed New Haven Airport on Wednesday.

Four board members wanted to table the motion to approve the lease, but they were outnumbered by the nine who voted to approve it

The City of New Haven has already said the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to leasing the airport to a long-term management company. Some people who live around the airport, however, still think there are too many cons.

“So, it’s important to the investors that will be investing in expanding the terminal to have that long-term certainty,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.

Tweed has been run by a company called Avports for years now. Wednesday’s signing would mean that Avports would officially be the tenants of the property until the 2060s, and the new tenants said they want to remodel.

The lease agreement includes plans for a longer runway, a new terminal, and infrastructure improvements to address traffic and safety concerns. 

This would mean a lot more jobs, and potentially, a lot more flights coming into Tweed. All of that has some nearby neighbors concerned. Traffic, noise, and pollution are the main concerns, and an environmental assessment is looking into that.

East Haven residents said they are not adequately represented by the authority. And the East Haven side is where Avports wants to build a new multi-gate terminal.

“There’s actually no representation for our community on any of our concerns with traffic, noise, air pollution, and health concerns. So, where is our quality of life,” said Lorena Venegas of East Haven.

An EA is required by the FAA for the expansion. But, nobody is actually out measuring noise or particles in the air.

The FAA said the EA can use a computer model to predict what those levels may be. Neighbors are not happy with that though, or with the changes already underway. The EA is not even complete yet, and they are already going ahead with the lead, which paves the way for all those changes.

Airport management assured uneasy neighbors that they are doing everything required to study the issues. Even once the lease is signed, the Tweed Airport Authority will still technically have supervision of the airport, according to officials.

East Haven’s mayor has made it clear that he is not happy with the fact that this 600-plus page lease was dumped on board members just hours ahead of the lease signing.

“It does not take an expert to see that there is no shared burden here,” said Carfora. “We will inherit all the traffic, the transient population, parking headaches, ecological strip mining, noise, pollution, the burden on our already taxed public safety departments that will come into this project.”

The new terminal is set to open in October of 2025 if the environmental assessment and other requirements follow through.