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Planned Jets Helipad Has Madison, N.J., Residents Fuming

MADISON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The New York Jets have found themselves locked in a fierce battle with their neighbors, as hundreds of residents living near the team's practice facility are protesting new construction plans for a helipad.

As CBS 2's Derricke Dennis reported Wednesday, airplanes are loud enough for the quiet, tree-lined blocks of Madison, N.J., and neighbors said helicopters would make it even worse.

"I think it's a sense of entitlement that's quite grotesque, really," said Melissa Honohan of Madison.

The Jets are behind the planned helipad. They want to use it to chopper in top executives to their practice facility in Florham Park – right next to Madison – and not at nearby Morristown Airport just five minutes away.

"It's completely vanity insanity," said Liza Saunders of Madison. "It makes no sense."

"This is just sort of one more thing that we really don't need," added Patrick Rowe.

"If there's an airport right there, why don't you use it?" Honohan said.

Hundreds have signed a petition online in opposition. The plan still needs approval from Florham Park, but not Madison, whose residents live just uphill from the sprawling Jets campus.

"I'm hoping they reconsider and realize Morristown Municipal Airport is a wonderful place to park a helicopter," Rowe said.

Surprisingly, the proposed helipad site is not on Jets property. It is actually on private property next door owned by developer the Rockefeller Group, and leased by the Jets -- even closer to neighboring homes.

"So it's really a billionaire wanting to shave five minutes off their travel time," Saunders said.

Through a team spokesman, the Jets declined to comment, although affected residents were notified of an upcoming public hearing about "a restricted use helistop for the landing and take-off of helicopters."

"It's going to build some bad mom mojo, that's all I can say," Saunders said, "and I don't think they want that."

The next public hearing on the Jets helipad is set for May 30, and homeowners said they will be there in force.

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