The New York State Legislature approved and Governor Mario Cuomo signed the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act into law in 1993, thereby creating the spectacular natural and cultural resource called the Central Pine Barrens region. The main goals of the Act were the protection of ground, surface, and drinking water and preservation of the area’s significant vast ecological resources.
The Act defined and described the boundaries of this area, which is located in central and eastern Suffolk County on Long Island and which comprises portions of eastern Brookhaven Town, southern Riverhead Town and western Southampton Town. The region consists of approximately 105,000 acres of land. The ecological communities found in the Central Pine Barrens are part of a globally rare ecosystem, one of only a handful of Pine Barrens ecosystems found in the northeastern United States. The Central Pine contains vast areas of undeveloped, vegetated and protected public and private lands as well as farmland, communities and other active areas.
The Act also created a five-member Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission with one member each representing New York State, Suffolk County, and the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton, with one of the members serving as chair. The Central Pine Barrens legislation also formed an Advisory Committee and mandated the creation and implementation of the Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which was first adopted in June of 1995.
The Act and the land use plan charge the Commission with the combined duties of a state agency, a planning board and a park commission. The Commission has joint land use review and regulation, permitting, and enforcement authority along with local municipalities and also oversees the implementation of the land use plan.
The Act also created a transfer of development rights and conservation easement program, which is also overseen and managed by the Commission, and also assigned the Commission stewardship and protected land management and ecological management responsibilities.
The Commission meets on a monthly basis with day-to-day operations managed by its staff, which consists of an executive director and 14 professional personnel based at the Commission office in Westhampton Beach, New York.
To obtain a copy of Commission meeting minutes visit our online document library and select the category "Commission Minutes" and visit the online event calendar for meeting information.