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Program Overview



The Pine Barrens Credit program is designed to protect the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater and the long term integrity of the pine barrens ecosystem by providing an alternative means of preserving environmentally-sensitive land in the core preservation area of the Central Pine Barrens region, in addition to other methods such as public acquisition. The credit program also promotes compact, efficient and orderly development within the compatible growth area of the region, in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act.

Sarnoff Preserve

Based on provisions outlined in the Act, the program is voluntary and incentive-based and is overseen by a five-member Credit Clearinghouse Board.  The program is designed to maintain value in lands designated for preservation or protection under the Act and the Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan by providing for the allocation and use of pine barrens credits (a process otherwise known as the transfer of development rights). A credit represents development potential that can be transferred from a privately-owned parcel of property within the core preservation area of the Central Pine Barrens, or other sensitive area identified in the land use plan, to a parcel in a designated area outside the core.  Landowners agreeing to receive such transfers may be eligible for additional density or intensity on the land in the designated area outside the core.  

The credit program allows residential development in these designated areas at a greater density than would be allowed under zoning or, more intense development of certain eligible non-residential properties.  This increased density and intensity creates added value in these areas that can only be realized with the purchase and redemption of credits.  Development projects which utilize credits are still subject to reviews by other agencies.

chemstorageOne particular use of Pine Barrens credits is for sanitary credits. One Pine Barrens credit typically equates to 300 gallons per day of sanitary sewage flow.  Credits may be used to satisfy Suffolk Department of Health Services (SCDHS) sanitary flow requirements for projects that, according to department regulations, exceed their allowed sanitary flow; however, this determination would be at the discretion of the SCDHS, not the Central Pine Barrens Commission.  

For a comprehensive overview of how the credit program transfers development in each of the three towns in the Central Pine Barrens, Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton, and information about how a private landowner can obtain credits for their property, refer to the Commission’s land use plan that is available in our online document library. Program statistics on the number of parcels protected through the credit program including acreage; average parcel size; credits generated, redeemed, and sold; total transaction value for each of the three towns; and credits owned by the Credit Clearinghouse Board are identified in credit program summaries located in our online document library. 

To learn more about the Pine Barrens Credit Program and to obtain information on program statistics visit, our online document library and select the category "Credit Program".  In addition, you can email or call 631-288-1079.