12. Selected Laws Pertinent to the Central Pine Barrens

12.1 Introduction

This section reviews the existing statutory regimes which may be applicable to lands within the Central Pine Barrens in addition to Article 57 of the Environmental Conservation Law. This section is an overview and is not intended to provide a comprehensive analysis of these laws.

12.2 Federal Laws

Existing federal regulations complement and enhance State regulatory programs for the protection and improvement of many natural resources including wetlands, rivers, water quality, floodplains and marine coastlines.

Federal legislation directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to prepare and administer regulations and programs related to groundwater protection. These include: the Water Pollution Control Act (WPCA), and the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TOSCA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ((CERCLA), also known as "Superfund"), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

12.2.1 Water Pollution Control Act of 1972

At the time of its enactment in 1972, the WPCA (PL 92-500) represented a major change in federal water pollution control law. It set a national goal of eliminating pollutant discharges by 1985. Although groundwater pollution was not given major emphasis, several Suffolk County programs that receive federal funding under this and subsequent laws stress groundwater resource protection. The 1972 WPCA included the following provisions:

Provided funding for area wide wastewater treatment management planning (Section 208).

Provided funding for wastewater treatment facilities (Section 201) in three phases:

Step 1 - Planning; Step 2 - Design; and, Step 3 - Construction;

Established a federal permit system (NPDES) and effluent discharge limitations for all point sources;

Placed effluent limitations on three categories of discharges: municipal, industrial, and toxic;

Created a formal rule making process under which the USEPA identifies toxic pollutants and issues effluent standards;

Declared a national policy of seeking to prevent discharge of oil or hazardous substances into U.S. waters (Section 311); and

Directed the USEPA to create national industrial pretreatment standards for discharges to municipal sewage systems.

12.2.2 Clean Water Act of 1977

The 1977 Clean Water Act (PL 95-217) amended the 1972 WPCA and included the following provisions:

Created a three category classification system for industrial pollution; conventional, toxic, and non-conventional;

Revised the toxic pollutant portion of the WPCA to empower the USEPA to add or subtract from a previous court imposed list of 65 chemicals. (This led to the initial list of 129 priority pollutants.);

Strengthened Section 311 by increasing liability limits and gave the USEPA power to establish a special fund for emergency assistance in cases of contaminant discharges;

Set a major policy of promoting innovative and alternative (I/A) waste management techniques. Sewer construction was specifically excluded from I/A financial incentives;

Extended the planning period for initial "200 Plans" and directed that plans identify open space opportunities that would result in improved water quality;

Increased funding to encourage the beneficial use of sludge; and

Made it policy for the states to manage the construction grants program and NPDES, and supported the states by allocating funding for administration.

12.2.3 Peconic Estuary Program

The National Estuary Program (NEP) was established by the federal Water Quality Act of 1987 to protect and preserve nationally significant estuaries which are threatened by pollution, development, or overuse. The United States Environmental Protection Agency administers NEP.

An NEP Management Conference is convened for the following purposes:

Assessing trends in water quality, natural resources, and estuarine uses;

Identifying causes of pollution;

Evaluating relationships between pollutant loads and environmental effects;

Developing a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP);

Planning coordination of CCMP implementation;

Monitoring effectiveness of actions; and

Reviewing federal financial assistance programs and development projects for CCMP consistency.

Ultimately, a CCMP must address three management areas:

Water and sediment quality, dealing with pollution abatement and control;

Living resources, focusing on protection and restoration; and

Land use and water resources, including consideration of conservation areas and special protective legislation and initiatives.

Congress added the Peconic Estuary system to the NEP priority list in October 1988. Acceptance of the Peconic Estuary Program (PEP) into the NEP was announced on September 9, 1992, making the Peconic Estuary one of only 21 areas in the NEP. The nomination document sets forth a Management Conference structure in accordance with USEPA guidance, with a Policy Committee, Management Committee, Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), and Local Government Committee (LGC). The Policy Committee, which oversees the program, is comprised of high-level policy makers from USEPA, NYSDEC, Suffolk County, and the Local Government Committee. The SCDHS Office of Ecology has been established as a central program office to conduct program management on behalf of the Management Committee, provide technical and administrative support to the PEP, and serve as a continuing resource to Peconic Estuary management.

12.2.4 Brown Tide Comprehensive Assessment and Management Program (BTCAMP)

BTCAMP is significant, as it founded the basis for the Peconic Estuary Program (PEP) Nomination Document as well as the PEP Action Plan. The Peconic Estuary Program has adopted the BTCAMP study area boundary, which comprises the groundwater-contributing area to the Peconic River (i.e., the shallow flow stream subsystem) as well as the groundwater-contributing area to the Flanders-Peconic Bays system. The groundwater-contributing area boundary to the Peconic River is of particular environmental sensitivity.

12.2.5 Municipal Wastewater Treatment Construction Grant Amendments of 1981

The 1981 act (PL 97-117) further amended the 1972 WPCA to include the following provisions:

Eliminated construction grants funding for Steps 1 and 2. (These could possibly later qualify for reimbursement as part of a Step 3 grant.);

Directed the states to incorporate the concept of "priority water quality areas" in preparing priority projects lists;

Replaced 208 Area wide Planning with Section 205 Water Quality Management Planning. Emphasis was placed on identifying non-point measures to meet and maintain quality standards; and

Expanded and added funding to the I/A program.

12.2.6 Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, and 1986 Amendments

The SDWA (PL 93-523) was considered the first major federal legislative attempt to assure that the public is provided with an adequate quantity of safe drinking water. It replaced Title XIV of the Public Health Service Act, and included the following provisions:

Required the USEPA to set Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), monitoring frequencies, and record keeping requirements for "public water systems," which include community and non-community supplies in municipal and private ownership;

Allowed the USEPA to grant "primacy" to states with regulations at least as stringent as those established by the USEPA under the act and laboratory facilities meeting USEPA criteria;

Required water suppliers to make public notifications if their systems are in violation of any SDWA requirement (particularly an MCL), and to outline precautionary measures;

Authorized the National Academy of Sciences to review data and recommend standards for drinking water contaminants;

Created two procedures, variances and exemptions, that can be used to allow a water supplier to operate while in violation of an MCL (or a minimum treatment requirement, if ever established), but only if it is documented by the supplier that such actions would not result in an unreasonable risk to public health;

Authorized the USEPA to designate areas that have an aquifer that is the sole or principal drinking water source, and to require review of federal projects so that no federal funds are expended on actions that may contaminate that aquifer; and

Allowed the USEPA to allocate funds for research and demonstration grants related to water supply.

The SDWA Amendments of 1986 (PL 99-339) strengthened the original act in a number of ways that will require expanded state and local monitoring and administrative programs:

Requires the USEPA to set additional drinking water standards for organic and inorganic chemicals and microbiological parameters. A time table is established for setting MCLs and MCLGs (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, previously called Recommended Maximum Contaminant Levels, RMCLs);

Directs the USEPA to promulgate regulations (within three years) that will require disinfection for all public water systems, and that will identify criteria for granting variances;

Strengthens USEPA's role in enforcement actions against water supplies that do not conform to regulations;

Establishes the use of granular activated carbon (GAC) as the baseline for treatment of synthetic organic chemicals; all "best available" technology must be as effective as GAC;

Prohibits (with minor exceptions) the use of lead solder, flux, and pipe in public water systems, or any residential or non-residential facility connected to a public water system;

Requires states to submit programs (within three years) that will protect groundwater sources by determining wellhead protection areas, identifying sources of contamination within these areas, specifying contingency plans, and identifying the duties of state agencies, local government, and public water systems; and

Requires additional monitoring for a list of unregulated contaminants (those with no MCL or MCLG).

12.2.7 Resources Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976

RCRA (PL 94-580) was the first comprehensive federal regulation of solid wastes. It amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, which was essentially limited to research and development programs for waste disposal and resource recovery. The 1976 act included the following provisions:

Provided for three major programs to attain the goals of protecting public health and conserving national resources: a hazardous wastes control program; a land disposal regulatory program in each state; and, initiation and support of state and local resource conservation programs;

Subtitle C provided for an identification and listing of hazardous wastes; standards for storage, treatment, or disposal of hazardous wastes; permits for storage, treatment, and disposal facilities; and, a manifest system to ensure that hazardous wastes are transported from the waste generator to only a "permitted" disposal facility;

Subtitle D for non-hazardous wastes imposed federal constraints on upgrading or phasing out open dumps; and

Mandated establishment of criteria for sanitary landfills.

12.2.8 Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976

TSCA (PL 94-469) was intended to fill the gaps in other legislation concerning toxic substances control. It provided for broad regulatory powers regarding toxic chemical manufacturing, use, storage, labeling, and disposal.

12.2.9 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980

CERCLA or "Superfund" (PL 96-510) was enacted to provide the USEPA with the financial resources needed for emergency response capabilities for spills and environmental accidents. The Act included the following provisions:

Created a trust fund of up to $1.6 billion during a five-year period starting in 1981 to provide emergency cleanup of hazardous materials spills and in-place hazardous wastes dumps that threaten the environment (where no responsible party can be identified). The fund is derived primarily from taxes on oil and on 42 specific chemicals; an additional 12.5% of the fund comes from general tax revenues; and

Directed the USEPA to establish a national priority list of hazardous waste sites; and

Specified that state authorities must be consulted before the Federal Government cleans up a site.

The act was reauthorized and amended in 1986 (SARA) with similar provisions.

12.2.10 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act of 1975

FIFRA (PL 94-140) provides the USEPA with broad premarket clearance powers over all pesticides used in the U.S. to ensure that they do not pose "unreasonable risks" to human health and the environment. The USEPA is directed to consider "unreasonable adverse effects on the environment" in its registration evaluation, and registrants are required to submit information on a continuing basis regarding adverse effects. The act requires establishments that produce pesticides to register with the USEPA, and directs the USEPA to classify each registered pesticide for general or restricted use.

12.2.11 National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

NEPA (PL 91-190) was the first major law to require the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS). The act included the following provisions:

Established a national policy for the environment;

Created the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ); and

Established a requirement for federal agencies to determine if their proposed actions will have a significant impact on the environment. If significant impact is likely, NEPA directed that an EIS be written.

12.2.12 Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1974

HMTA (PL 93-633) authorized the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to regulate interstate commerce of hazardous materials. The Act was primarily intended to control immediate transportation hazards such as radioactive, disease causing, corrosive, explosive, flammable, or toxic materials and compressed gases, but pollution control was specified as a factor to be considered in the development of regulations. The Act directs the USDOT to prepare regulations for manufacturers of hazardous materials requiring transport; manufacturers of hazardous materials containers; and, transporters of such materials in commerce.

12.3 New York State Laws

State administered environmental and land use controls including the regulations of the Adirondack Park Agency, the Freshwater and Tidal Wetlands Acts, Coastal Erosion Hazard, Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers and Mined Land Reclamation programs require protection of and setback of development from important environmental resources, thus protecting open space. Water quality regulations, including septic system and water quality laws, can impact the type and distribution of development.

New York State has a substantial amount of environmental legislation pertaining to groundwater resource management, source controls, water supply and environmental review. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) are the two primary state agencies responsible for administering the regulations and programs under state law. Following are brief summaries of selected groundwater legislation, including highlighted portions of the State Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and Public Health Law (PHL).

12.3.1 ECL Article 8, "State Environmental Quality Review Act"

The intent of the 1975 SEQRA legislation is to ensure that protection and enhancement of the environment is given appropriate weight with social and economic considerations in public policy decisions. Article 8 includes the following provisions:

Mandates that an environmental impact statement (EIS) be prepared for any action that may have a significant effect on the environment before an agency approves that action;

Provides a brief summary of what information should be included in an environmental impact statement;

Stipulates that a draft EIS be prepared as early as possible in the formulation of a proposed action;

Defines "lead agency" and calls for coordination of review among agencies; and

Directs the NYSDEC to develop rules and regulations for carrying out SEQRA provisions, including criteria for determining whether or not a proposed action may have a significant effect on the environment.

Critical Environmental Areas

The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (Article 8, N.Y.S. Environmental Conservation Law) rules and regulations (NYCRR Part 617) permit local agencies to designate a specific geographic area within its boundaries as a Critical Environmental Area (CEA). To be designated as a CEA, an area must have an exceptional or unique character covering one or more of the following:

1. a benefit or threat to human health;

2. a natural setting (e.g., fish and wildlife habitat, forest and vegetation, open space and areas of important aesthetic or scenic quality);

3. social, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational, or educational values; or

4. an inherent ecological, geological or hydrological sensitivity to change which may be adversely affected by any change. Any unlisted action in a CEA must be treated as a Type l action requiring the completion of a long environmental assessment form and a coordinated review process.

Coastal Area Boundary

Another regulatory boundary that traverses the Central Pine Barrens is the New York State Coastal Area Boundary which is administered by the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS). For proposed state permits, funding, and direct actions, each state agency reviews its own actions, usually through the State Environmental Quality Review Act, to ensure consistency with the Coastal Area Boundary.

Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats

The NYSDOS has identified Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats.

12.3.2 ECL Article 15, Title 27, Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers

The Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers program regulates land uses within corridors along both the Carman's and Peconic Rivers. Corridors are up to one-half mile in width.

12.3.3 ECL Article 15 "Water Resources"

Decrees that the power to regulate the water resources of the state is vested with New York State;

Directs that reasonable standards of purity and quality be maintained;

Includes provisions for preserving wild, scenic, and recreational river systems;

Calls for the preparation of comprehensive public water supply studies;

Title 15 "Water Supply" directs that the NYSDEC approve all applications for water supply development and extensions; that Long Island well drillers be certified by the NYSDEC; and, that all wells on Long Island with capacities greater than 45 gallons per minute (gpm) be approved by the NYSDEC; and

A 1983 amendment to Article 15 (S.347C/A.416C) added a new subsection covering the prohibition of certain incompatible uses (i.e., uses involving any hazardous waste) over federally designated sole source aquifers; and directs the NYSDEC to promulgate rules and regulations concerning protection of these resources.

Amendments to Title 15 passed in 1986 (S.6156C/A.416C) added or modified the following requirements:

Placed a moratorium on withdrawals from the Lloyd aquifer (except in certain coastal areas);

Limited new and renewal permits to a term of 10 years;

Required public water supplies to submit watershed rules and regulations for new wells pursuant to PHL 1100;

Required permit reviews to consider aquifer stress, consumptive use, water conservation, leak detection, and consistency with regional plans; and

Removed the permit exemption for new agricultural wells.

12.3.4 ECL Article 17, "Water Pollution Control"

This article replaces PHL Article 12, and contains the following titles:

Title 3, "Jurisdiction of the Department" directs the NYSDEC to develop a classification system for state waters in accordance with considerations for best usage, and requires the preparation of standards of quality and purity for each classification. It also gives the NYSDEC administrative jurisdiction to abate and prevent water pollution, and the authority to issue and revoke permits. The NYSDEC is directed to conduct comprehensive studies of water pollution control, and is given authority to issue standards for testing wastes discharges, and to enforce regulations;

Title 5, "Prohibitions" provides a general prohibition against water pollution in contravention of standards adopted by the NYSDEC as authorized by Article 17. It includes restrictions on the discharge of sewage, industrial wastes, and other wastes;

Title 7, "Permits" empowers the NYSDEC to issue permits for new discharges of wastes;

Title 8, "State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System" institutes a permit system (SPDES), which is designed to cover all liquid discharges greater than 1,000 gallons per day (gpd);

Title 15, "Realty Subdivisions: Sewage Service" defines subdivisions as a division of a tract of land into five or more parcels. It empowers any city or county health department to adopt regulations for the control of sewage facilities, and requires plans to be submitted indicating methods for providing adequate sewage facilities. It also calls for coordination between the NYSDEC and NYSDOH (Public Health Law Article 11, Title II) for realty subdivisions;

Title 17, "Discharge of Sewage into Waters" details NYSDEC powers to prohibit or order discontinuance of discharges. It also provides some details on permit requirements, and empowers local health departments to make inspections; and

Title 19, "State Aid: Collection, Treatment and Disposal of Sewage" details provisions on how municipalities may obtain state financial aid for comprehensive studies and for the construction of sewage facilities.

12.3.5 ECL Article 24, "The Freshwater Wetlands Act."

This article requires the mapping of wetlands and regulates most land uses within 100 feet of the wetland boundary.

12.3.6 ECL Article 27, "Collection, Treatment and Disposal of Refuse and Other Solid Waste"

This article replaces PHL Article 13, Title X, and contains the following titles:

Title 1, "State Aid" describes how state financial aid shall be provided to municipalities to conduct comprehensive plans for the collection, treatment, and disposal of refuse;

Title 3, "Private Waste Disposal" calls for all those engaged in cleaning septic tanks (cesspools), scavenging, or disposing of industrial wastes to be registered with the NYSDEC. Registrants are required to make an annual report indicating the number and type of installations cleaned, volume and types of wastes removed, place and manner of disposal; and

Contains provisions of the State Industrial Hazardous Wastes Management Act of 1979, which directs the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to construct, operate and finance hazardous wastes management facilities, and to study hazardous wastes technology. The act also mandates the EFC to develop a program for the alternate disposal of hazardous wastes, including siting, marketing and financing.

A recent amendment to Article 27 added subsection 27-0704 which bans new landfills or expansions of existing landfills in deep recharge areas (but includes a provision for allowing limited expansion for solid wastes prior to implementation of a resource recovery system). It also delineates specific provisions for new landfill construction or expansion outside of deep recharge areas. Such provisions include liners, financial surety and prohibition against disposal of industrial wastes (unless approved by the NYSDEC).

12.3.7 ECL Article 33, "Pesticides"

Title 3, "General Provisions" gives the NYSDEC jurisdiction over the distribution, sale, use, and transport of pesticides. The NYSDEC is empowered to declare what constitutes a pest; determine whether pesticides are toxic to humans and prepare a list of those pesticides; prepare a list of restricted use pesticides and the permitted usage and conditions; and, promulgate rules and regulations;

Title 5, "Testing" directs the NYSDEC to sample pesticides and describes how sampling is to be carried out;

Title 7, "Registration" calls for the registration of every pesticide distributed, sold or transported in the state; and

Title 15, "Seizure" gives the NYSDEC authority to seize and confiscate pesticides under certain specified conditions.

12.3.8 PHL Article ll "Public Water Supplies; Sewerage and Sewage Control"

Title I, "Potable Waters" gives the NYSDOH power to make rules and regulations for protecting public water supplies from contamination. It empowers local health agencies to inspect public water supply facilities, and gives the NYSDOH authority to enforce regulations and fine violators. Under this title, local health agencies can require sewage treatment if deemed necessary to protect public water supplies; and

Title II, "Realty Subdivisions: Water and Sewerage Service" defines a subdivision as the division of any tract of land into five or more parcels. It requires maps or plans to be filed with appropriate local agencies indicating the methods to be employed for obtaining an adequate and satisfactory water supply for subdivisions; communal, rather than individual, water systems can be required.

12.3.9 Transportation Law

Article 2, Section 14f, authorizes the NYSDOT to promote safety in the transport of hazardous materials by all modes; and

Article 7, Section 161, provides additional authority for the NYSDOT to control carriers transporting hazardous materials.

12.3.10 Navigation Law

Article 12, Section 191 "Oil Spill Prevention and Control" authorizes the NYSDOT to control the transfer and storage of petroleum; provides liability for damage sustained within the state as a result of the discharge of petroleum by requiring prompt clean up; and, provides a fund for swift and adequate compensation.

12.3.11 General Municipal Law

Article 5-C, "Water Supply" Section 118 empowers counties, towns, and villages to provide for the development of a supply of water in excess of its own needs, for the purpose of sale to a public corporation or improvement district.

12.3.12 County Law

Article 5-A, "County Water, Sewers, Drainage and Water Treatment and Refuse Districts" Section 250 et seq. empowers each county to establish or extend county water, sewer, drainage, water treatment, or refuse districts. It details procedures for establishing a district, applying to the State Comptroller, and setting up a rate schedule. Authority to create county Water Quality Treatment Districts was added in 1984 (L.1984, c.622). Sewer district formation in Suffolk County is specifically described (Section 279-a).

12.3.13 Town Law

Article 12, "District and Special Improvements" Section 190 et seq. empowers town boards to establish or extend water storage and distribution districts to acquire or develop supplies of water for sale to water and water supply districts. Authority to create town Water Quality Treatment Districts was added in 1984 (L. 1984, c. 622).

Article 16, "Zoning and Planning" Section 261 et seq. includes under zoning authority a town board's power to regulate the density of population and the location and use of buildings, structures, and land for trade, industry, residence, or other purpose for any areas outside the limits of an incorporated village or city. Section 269 describes conflicts with other laws; it states that if zoning ordinances are more stringent than other statutes, zoning shall govern. If, however, zoning ordinances are less stringent than other regulations, then those other regulations shall govern. The article also describes procedures for amending zoning ordinances, and authorizes a town planning board to prepare and change a comprehensive master plan for the development of an entire area of the town.

12.3.14 Village Law

Article 7, "Building Zones" and 11 "Water" provide villages similar authority to that provided to towns by Town Law.

12.4 Land Use Regulations: Local Land Use Controls

Local land use controls, including zoning, subdivision regulations and historic district laws can directly and indirectly protect open space and historic structures. "Clustering" and incentive zoning provide protection to sensitive open space areas while concentrating building on other parts of a site. Transfer of development rights (TDRs) is a related technique which allows for transferring density among sites. Subdivision regulations allow the dedication of land for open space purposes.

12.4.1 History of the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Review Commission

As early as 1978, the NYSDEC sponsored a Task Force Meeting on the Pine Barrens to advocate preservation of its remaining 100,000 acres. The Pine Barrens Planning Council, an advisory body of the Long Island Regional Planning Board, continued this effort, actively studying the feasibility of a Pine Barrens Commission throughout the early 1980's. In April 1984 the Suffolk County Legislature established a Pine Barrens Review Commission of nine members (Local Law No. 7 1984). Approximately fifteen months later, this body reviewed its first application with the County Planning Department providing staff support. Since that first application, approximately 1000 applications have been reviewed by the Commission, referred by the towns of Brookhaven, East Hampton, Riverhead and Southampton. The following table summarizes the Commission efforts.
Figure 12-1: Summary of Applications Received by the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Review Commission through 1992
Year Applications Acres Potential Units Acres / D.U.
1985 71 3,332 34,370 .97
1986 159 5,128 44,631 1.15
1987 224 4,061 39,891 1.02
1988 218 5,328 22,132 2.41
1989 95 1,691 13,881 1.22
1990 64 1,917 19,990 .96
1991 62 733 7,650 .96
1992 39 325 4,790 .67
Total 932 22,515 18,7331 1.17

Commission procedure is to render an advisory opinion on applications for subdivisions, zone changes, special permits, variances, etc. After an advisory report is issued, the application is reviewed by the Suffolk County Planning Commission. Both reports are returned to the town which, after considering the reports, makes a final determination on the application.

The original 1984 legislation named only nine representatives (including only one from the South Fork of Long Island). In 1986 the Town of East Hampton petitioned the Suffolk County Legislature for representation. Accordingly, the legislature named two new positions and adjusted the terms of office. In addition, the requirements for an override of Pine Barrens Review Commission actions by the Suffolk County Planning Commission were modified as was the requirement for a report to the Suffolk County Planning Commission on each action by the Pine Barrens Review Commission.

Other modifications to the legislation occurred in 1987, when the size of South Setauket Woods Zone was expanded and all Pine Barrens Zones were designated as Critical Environmental Areas under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Again in 1988, modifications were requested by the villages of Quogue and Westhampton Beach, in light of the fact that only small areas within the Villages, north of the Long Island Railroad are in the Pine Barrens Zone. Accordingly the requirements for submissions from the two villages were relaxed.

In addition to each town code and the county-chartered commissions, other regulations influencing land development in the Central Pine Barrens are the requirements of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (amended 1987), the New York State Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act (1988), and the state certified Special Groundwater Protection Area Plan (1992).

Development continued in the Pine Barrens albeit subject to review powers of the Pine Barrens Review Commission. As early as 1986, a bill amending the Environmental Conservation Law by adding Article 55 was considered in the New York State Assembly to create a New York State Pine Barrens Commission. The bill provided for a comprehensive Pine Barrens management plan, proposed a moratorium on alteration of threatened Pine Barrens areas and proposed an appropriation. (No. A. 6407-A). The effort to establish a state commission continued almost annually until it culminated in bills No. A. 8496-A and S. 5896-A, amending the Environmental Conservation Law by adding Article 57 which was signed into law on June 14, 1993. For a more detailed discussion concerning the history of the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission see the Plan.

12.4.2 Suffolk County Laws

Although most of the county originated authority for groundwater resource management and enforcement is derived from the Suffolk Sanitary Code (see Section, the following are examples of other relevant county legislation. Local Law 23-1977, "Local Law Implementing the State Environmental Quality Review Act"

The law, as amended by LL 28-1977 and LL 29-1980, formally adopts SEQRA in accordance with Article 8 of the ECL. It prescribes rules, regulations, and procedures for county agencies to comply with SEQRA, and includes lists identifying Type I and Type II actions. Local Law 12-1980, "Local Law Prohibiting the Sale of Certain Cesspool Additive Products in the County of Suffolk"

The law prohibits the sale of any organic chemical(s) or compound(s) for the purpose of cleaning or unclogging sewer lines and/or individual sewage disposal systems unless approved by the SCDHS. It also directs that in order to obtain approval, scientific data, satisfactory to the SCDHS, must be submitted demonstrating that the organic chemical will not adversely affect the groundwater. Local Law 8-1983, "Local Law Providing for Seizure and Forfeiture of Vehicles, Vessels and Other Conveyances Used to Illegally Transport or Dispose of Hazardous Wastes"

The Suffolk County District Attorney is empowered to seize vehicles, vessels, and other conveyances used to illegally transport or dispose of hazardous waste. After a hearing before a civil judge, seized vehicles may be forfeited and sold at auction. Local Law 1-1984, "Local Law Regulating the Use of Public Water Fire Hydrants for Pest Control and Other Commercial Purposes"

The law requires fire hydrant users, such as tree sprayers and plumbers, to register with the local water purveyor, display user identification emblems and have adequate cross connection (back flow) control devices installed on their trucks. The purpose of the law is to prevent pesticides and other materials from being accidentally introduced into water supplies. Local Law Number 7 1984


To ensure the effective management of the land known as the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Zone by protecting sensitive areas, including the underground aquifer, through the creation of a Suffolk County Pine Barrens Review Commission.

General Provisions

Establishes the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Review Commission and gives it the authority to encourage the preparation of, to review and to evaluate any comprehensive plan which may be adopted for the maintenance and management of the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Zone, including plans which provide for increased specificity in protecting significant resources within the Pine Barren Zone, and promote reasonable economic growth within said zone and which create predictability in governmental decision-making;

Prior to referring certain municipal zoning actions to the Suffolk County Planning Commission, each town and/or village in Suffolk County having jurisdiction to adopt or amend zoning regulations shall, before taking final action, refer to the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Review Commission any zoning regulation or amendment therefore (herein referred to as "municipal zoning action") which would change the district classification of, or the regulations applying to, real property lying within the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Zone.

Prior to referring any application for a special permit to the Suffolk County Planning Commission, each town and/or village in Suffolk County having jurisdiction to issue special permits pursuant to zoning regulations shall, before taking final action, refer to the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Review Commission any application for a special permit which would affect any real property lying within the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Zone.

Prior to referring any application for a variance to the Suffolk County Planning Commission, each town and/or village in Suffolk County having jurisdiction to issue variances shall, before taking final action, refer to the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Review Commission any application for a variance which would affect any real property lying within the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Zone.

Prior to referring any proposal for the approval of a plat, to the Suffolk County Planning Commission, each municipal agency authorized by a municipal legislative body to approve plats showing lots, blocks or sites, with or without streets or highways, or the development of plats entirely or partly undeveloped and which have been filed in the office of the Clerk of the County in which such plat is located prior to appointment of such Planning Board and the grant to such board of the power to approve plats, shall refer to the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Review Commission any plat of real property lying within the Suffolk County Pine Barrens Zone. Article 4, Suffolk County Sanitary Code, Water Supply


402. To control drinking water supplies and to insure that Suffolk County residents have a healthful and plentiful supply of water.

General Provisions

405. All drinking water made available for human consumption must meet the prevailing standards of the New York State Sanitary code and any standards promulgated by the Board of Health.

407. A plan for water supply facilities approved by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and filed by the Office of the Clerk of the County of Suffolk is required for all realty subdivisions, transactions or building construction. Article 6, Suffolk County Sanitary Code

Article 6 of the Suffolk County Sanitary Code regulates the density and sewage facility requirements of residential and non-residential realty subdivisions and developments in Hydrogeologic Zones III, V and VI.

Article 6 requires limiting new development to a density of no greater than 1 dwelling unit per 40,000 square feet, or its equivalent, in unsewered areas in Hydrogeologic Zone III, V, and VI. This density limit is designed to maintain an average of 4 ppm total nitrogen in groundwater, which means that almost no samples will violate the 10 ppm nitrogen standard for any given sample.

In all other hydrogeologic zones in Suffolk County, Article 6 requires limiting new development to a density of no greater than 1 dwelling unit per 20,000 square feet, or its equivalent, in unsewered areas. This density limit is designed to maintain an average of 6 ppm total nitrogen in groundwater, affording 90% confidence level for attaining the 10 ppm nitrogen standard for any given sample.

General Provisions (Summary)

602-A No developer shall after the effective date of this article:

1. engage in the creation of a realty subdivision, or sell, rent, offer for sale or lease any parcel in a realty subdivision unless Department approval has been obtained of the existing or proposed water supply and sewage disposal facilities in the subdivision;

2. engage in the creation of a development, or lease, rent, give devise, or otherwise dispose of any parcel in a development or erect or cause to be erected any permanent building on any parcel in the development unless Department approval has been obtained for the existing or proposed water supply and sewage disposal facilities in the development.

603-D Identifies requirements to obtain and furnish water supply and/or sewerage facilities for a realty subdivision or development by connection to an existing community water and/or sewerage system.

605-A Identifies conditions where a community sewerage system method of sewage disposal is required for a realty subdivision or development.

605-B Identifies conditions where individual sewage systems may be approved as the method of sewage disposal for all parcels within a realty subdivision or development.

606-A Identifies conditions where a community water system method of water supply is required.

606-B Establishes minimum requirements for community water systems.

606-C Identifies conditions where individual water supply systems may be approved.

608-A Identifies conditions where a community sewerage system for sewage disposal is required for the purposes of cluster housing, two-family residences, multi-family housing or commercial or industrial centers. Article 7, Suffolk County Sanitary Code, Water Pollution Control

Primarily intended to provide additional protection to deep recharge areas and water supply sensitive areas from possible spills and discharges of certain toxic and hazardous materials;

Restricts storage and discharge of toxic and hazardous materials in deep recharge areas and water supply sensitive areas;

Exempts facilities and activities such as retail stores, agriculture, and highway construction and repair;

Specifies possible variances for gasoline service stations and industrial establishments served by sewage collection and treatment, with effluent disposal outside of deep recharge areas;

Includes requirements for permits to construct sanitary facilities and to discharge wastes, and to control the commingling of wastes and stormwater discharges; and

Stipulates requirements for monitoring and reporting; connection to public sewer systems; and, abandonment of sanitary disposal systems. Article 12, Suffolk County Sanitary Code, Toxic and Hazardous Materials Storage and Handling Controls


1202 It is the intent and purpose of this article to safeguard the water resources of the County of Suffolk from toxic or hazardous materials pollution by controlling or abating pollution from such sources in existence when this article is enacted and also by preventing further pollution from new sources under a program which is consistent with the Declaration of Policy.

General Provisions (Summary)

1205 Declares that it shall be unlawful for any person to discharge toxic or hazardous materials in Suffolk County, unless such discharge is specifically in accordance with a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Permit or other permit issued by or acceptable to the Commissioner for that purpose.

1210- Regulates the underground, outdoor above

1216 ground and indoor storage of toxic and hazardous materials. Controls the utilization of portable containers and tanks. The transfer of toxic and hazardous materials including associated facilities and operations are also governed by this ordinance.
12.5 Town Laws Summarized

12.5.1 Brookhaven Town

Cluster Ordinance, Development Pursuant to 281 of Town Law


85-447 To allow the owner or developer of real property to develop it under Town Law 281.

General Provisions

85-447-A The total acreage owned by the applicant or to be included in the proposed development need not be in contiguous parcels or be otherwise contiguous.

85-447-A The owner must specify the number of acres to be dedicated to the town or other municipal agency or to be set aside as open space. The applicant shall state fully the purpose or purposes for which said dedication is to be made or the intended uses, if any, of the open space to be dedicated.

85-308 Permitted Uses, Property Located in Hydrogeologic Sensitive Zones, Industrial Zoning

General Provisions

85-308 B(7) All proposed actions and changes in tenants or occupants or new tenancies or occupancies, shall require notification and coordinated review pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

85-308 B(10) All industries, owners, tenants or occupants, whose activity conducted on site involves storage and handling of toxic or hazardous materials and/or industrial discharges, shall be required to submit adequate financial assurances guaranteeing the immediate clean-up of spills or illegal discharges.

85-308 B(11) No industrial discharge shall be permitted unless in conformance with a treatment and disposal system approved by Suffolk County Health Department and the Town of Brookhaven Department of Planning, Environment and Development.

Change of Ownership or Tenancy for Industrial or Commercial Buildings


To control the siting of commercial and industrial uses within the Town.

General Provisions

Whenever a building, structure or use or alteration thereof is proposed in this district, except for one family dwelling places, permitted agricultural uses and customary uses related thereto, the Building Inspector shall refer the site plan of the proposal to the Brookhaven Town Planning Board for review.

When a structure or use is changed, sold or leased, the new owner or tenant shall cause notice to be given to the Department of Planning, Environment and Development within thirty (30) days of such sale or lease.

Sand and Gravel Pits, Excavation and Removal of Topsoil


Whereas, the Town Board of the Town of Brookhaven recognizes that sand and gravel are valuable natural resources of property owners within certain areas of the town and that in past years the excavation of sand and gravel has proceeded in an unsatisfactory manner resulting in the elimination of ground cover, natural vegetation and the degradation of slopes, radical changes in stormwater runoff and other problems which, in all likelihood, will lead to the permanent sterilization of property within the town; therefore, the purpose and intent of this chapter is to restrict the removal of sand and gravel to those instances where it is absolutely essential to remove said raw materials from a site in connection with the residential, commercial or industrial development of the premises, and further that the purpose and intent of this chapter is to encourage development which utilizes existing slope contours wherever possible so that drainage patterns and existing vegetation will be subjected to the least disturbance as is practicable.


81-1 Legislative intent. [Amended 2-1-77 by Local Law No. 1, 1977, effective 2-22-77]

It is hereby declared to be the intent of the Town of Brookhaven to protect and enhance the many valuable resources which both tidal and freshwater wetlands possess, to prevent the despoliation and destruction of wetlands by regulating the use and development of such wetlands and to secure the natural benefits of wetlands for the existing and future residents of the Town of Brookhaven. Such wetland resources include flood and storm control, recreational facilities, pollution treatment, wildlife protection, open space and aesthetic appreciation, erosion control, sources of nutrients for marine and freshwater life, means for scientific and educational research, as well as means to protect subsurface water resources. Such resources shall be protected by the Town of Brookhaven pursuant to the authority conferred upon the town by Article 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law, as such Article may from time to time be amended.

Site Grading and Erosion Control Ordinance


35-1 To regulate the regrading of land to prevent serious and irreparable damage to natural resources, depreciation of property values, and to protect persons and property from the hazards of periodic flooding.

Minimum Standards

35-3 Whenever a site plan review and approval is required, the site plan shall indicate compliance with the standards provided in this ordinance.

Tree Preservation


70-1 To regulate the destruction and removal of trees and to secure protection of trees in order to protect wildlife habitats, ecosystems and aesthetic quality.

General Provisions

70-3, 70-6. Submission of a plan and procurement of a permit is required prior to the destruction or removal of any tree growing upon a parcel of real property which is in excess of two acres.

HF Horse Farm-Residence District


To establish requirements and standards for the permitted uses within an HF-Horse Farm-Residence District.

General Provisions

85-184 Identifies temporary uses requiring Planning Board 85-185 approval such as horse shows. Sets standards for minimum lot size and the number of horses permitted per acre.

A Soil and Water Conservation Plan is required in order to obtain a permit.

12.5.2 Riverhead

Transfer of Development Rights Program



This chapter is hereby enacted to achieve the goals of preserving and protecting the natural, scenic or agricultural qualities of open lands, to enhance sites and areas of special character or special historical, cultural, aesthetic or economic interest or value and to enable and encourage flexibility of design and careful management of land in recognition of land as a basic and valuable natural resource.

95A-7. Preservation of agricultural land

Consistent with the purposes of this chapter, preservation of agricultural land is of utmost concern. The preservation of agricultural land will achieve the goals of preserving the character of Riverhead and support an economically viable farm industry.

Wetlands, Flood plains and Drainage

107-1 Legislative Intent

The Town Board of Riverhead finds that rapid growth, the spread of development and increasing demands upon natural resources are encroaching upon, despoiling, polluting or eliminating many of its watercourses, coastal wetlands, tidal marshes, floodplain lands, freshwater wetlands, watersheds, water recharge areas and other natural resources and processes associated therewith which, if preserved and maintained in an undisturbed and natural condition, constitute important physical, social, aesthetic, recreation and economic assets to existing and future residents of the town.

107-4 and 107-5

Regulates by permit the deposit of debris, fill, materials; digging, dredging in water courses, floodplain lands, freshwater wetlands, watersheds, water recharge areas or natural drainage systems.

12.5.3 Southampton Town

330-63 et. seq Aquifer Protection Overlay District


To promote water recharge and prevent the degradation of the sole source aquifer through the regulation of land use in water catchment regions.

General Provisions

330-68 Fertilized vegetation should not exceed fifteen percent (15%) or twenty thousand (20,000) square feet for any tract or lot within the district.

69.1 Prohibits the location of new public or

private disposal systems used for, but not limited to, the disposal of septic or waste materials.

Preservation of Open Space, Planned Residential Development


52-1A To encourage the flexibility of design and development of land to promote the most appropriate use of land, and to preserve the natural and scenic quality of open lands in order to provide larger areas of open space both for recreational and conservation purposes.

General Provisions

52-4A The number of dwelling units in no case shall exceed the number which could be permitted if the land were subdivided without the benefit of the local law.

52-7A The application of the procedure shall result in the preservation of at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the land in its natural state.

52-8A The use of this procedure shall also result in the preservation of Class I or II prime agricultural soils, located in the Agricultural Overlay Districts or a water recharge area.

330-7 Transfer of Development Rights


330-7A To achieve community planning objectives with reference to natural resources, population, utilities, and housing while maintaining the established overall ratio between population capacity at ultimate community development and the safe yield of the fresh groundwater reservoir within the Town's territorial limits.

General Provisions

330-7 et. seq. Land from which the development rights are to be transferred must have characteristics such that their permanent preservation as open space will result in the preservation of one or more of the following: porous morainal soils; soils found in the Agricultural Overlay Districts, tidal wetlands or lands included within the greenbelt park system or an individual park, beach or public recreation area.

330-57 et. seq. Special Old Filed Map Overlay District

General Provisions

330-57E Authorizes the establishment of an Old Filed Map Overlay District.

58B No building permit shall be issued for the erection of a one family dwelling on a lot containing less than ten thousand (10,000) square feet in the Special Old Filed Map Overlay District.

58C Each and every lot in the Special Old Filed Map District having a lot area of less than ten thousand (10,000) square feet, lawfully existing in a single and separate ownership and having no dwelling unit thereon is hereby granted a fractional development right.

59B Upon accumulating sufficient partial residential development rights as to amount to one (1) or more full residential development rights, such partial rights may be transferred to any lot in the Special Old Filed Map Overlay District having a lot area of not less than twenty thousand (20,000) square feet.

Vegetation Protection


62-2 To regulate the destruction or removal of vegetation to protect the town's fresh water supply, natural noise barriers, wildlife habitats and aesthetic character.

General Provisions

62-4. Damage, destruction, or removal of vegetation on private property without the consent of the property owner or on public grounds without the consent of the Town Board or agent is prohibited.



175-1 The Town Board of the Town of Southampton finds and declares it to be the public policy of the town to preserve, protect and conserve its wetlands and the benefits derived therefrom, to prevent their despoliation and destruction, to regulate the use and development thereof and to secure the natural benefits of wetlands consistent with the general welfare and beneficial economic and social development of the town.

Trails Policy


295-1 The Master Plan envisions a recreational system which would incorporate the essential natural and scenic resources that have attracted people to the community over the years into a system of largely interconnected parks and open spaces. These resources, such as our morainal and pine barren woodlands, farmlands, ponds, bays and ocean and points of interest, as well as our scenic hamlets, would provide the setting or backdrop for specific recreational facilities and historic sites, or focal points, within the overall system. These focal points would be the active, high-traffic, recreation areas and would be lineally connected to the less active, natural, environmental parks by way of greenbelt corridors and trails.

12.6 Bibliography: Selected Laws Pertinent to the Central Pine Barrens

Long Island Regional Planning Board. Airport Joint Use Feasibility Study 1993. Calverton Airport.

Long Island Regional Planning Board. Nonpoint Source Management Handbook. 1984.

Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Conserving Open Space in New York State . . . The Plan (Second Printing). 1993.

Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan Volume 1. Dvirka and Bartilucci, Consulting Engineers, and Malcolm Pirnie Inc., 1987.