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Compliance and Enforcement

How To Report A Non-Emergency Incident

One ongoing challenge in the Central Pine Barrens is the need for compliance and enforcement. As various land use activities are legally allowed to occur within the Compatible Growth Area of the Central Pine Barrens, including development of residential subdivisions, construction of individual homes and commercial improvements, there is a need to ensure these activities are in compliance with local laws (especially zoning), the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act and the Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Under the Act, the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton and the Villages of Westhampton Beach and Quogue have primary authority for ensuring land use activities, within the Central Pine Barrens portions of their borders, are in compliance with these laws and regulations and with any conditions imposed as part of the municipal land use activity approval process. 

The Commission, and other agencies such as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Suffolk County Department of Health Services, also have jurisdiction over various land use activities in the Central Pine Barrens. The agencies are also charged with assuring compliance pursuant to their individual jurisdictional authorities. Necessitating compliance ensures the continuing protection of the significant hydrological, ecological and cultural resources found in the Central Pine Barrens region.

Maintaining constant vigilance for and taking substantive action against illegal activities in the Central Pine Barrens is another important responsibility shared by many agencies and the general public. Some of the most significant and injurious of these are the illegal operation of All-Terrain Vehicles and Off-Road Vehicles (e.g. 4-Wheel Drive vehicles), the illegal dumping of solid waste and the illegal clearing of native vegetation, all of which can cause significant damage to the Central Pine Barrens ecosystem.

The Commission works cooperatively with a multitude of other agencies both to ensure land use development compliance and to enforce against and combat illegal activities.  The Compliance and Enforcement Division of the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws protecting the Central Pine Barrens region and in investigating and resolving environmental crimes. This unit, comprised of three coordinators with extensive backgrounds in law enforcement, conducts inspections of land use activities and development projects to ensure compliance with Commission permit conditions and also coordinates land use compliance inspections with the planning, environmental protection and law departments of the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton. The division also coordinates with other agencies and Commission councils, primarily the Law Enforcement Council, to research and investigate incidents involving clearing, dumping and other unauthorized activities in the Central Pine Barrens and acts as a clearinghouse for the intake of complaints about potential violations, often conducting the initial investigation and referring  cases to other agencies for further investigation and processing as needed.

The division works with the Commission’s Law Enforcement Council on multi-jurisdictional environmental enforcement issues, such as illegal operation of all-terrain vehicles, and legislation to create or improve existing environmental enforcement statutes and regulations.  The division also conducts monitoring and enforcement of conservation easements held by the Commission which were created under the Pine Barrens Credit Program to protect private land in the Core Preservation area.  In some cases, the Commission will seek the assistance and intervention of the New York State Attorney General who represents the Commission in State courts and prosecutes specific violations referred directly by the Commission. 

The Compliance and Enforcement division works closely with New York State Department ofATV_Shoot_004 Environmental Conservation and Suffolk County law enforcement personnel to develop and draft new rules and regulations for enforcement in the Central Pine Barrens that, if adopted, would greatly enhance the enforcement compliance and enforcement capabilities within and protection of the Central Pine Barrens region. (Copies of the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act and related laws can be viewed in our online document library.)

Though the division, the Towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton and the member agencies of the Law Enforcement Council work hard to protect the Central Pine Barrens, the assistance and support of the public is essential as the public serves as guardians of this environmentally-sensitive region by keeping an eye out for and reporting environmental crimes such as illegal ATV use and dumping. The Commission has created a brochure "ATV and Dumping Flyer - A Citizen's Guide to Reporting" to educate the public as to how they can help protect the pine barrens.

If you observe or are aware of any potential violations in the Central Pine Barrens that are not life threatening or an emergency requiring immediate response, you are encouraged to report them immediately by calling the toll free hotline 1-877-BARRENS (1-877-227-7367) which is staffed on a 24/7 basis by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.  This number can be used for reporting patterns of illegal activity or single incidents.

In addition, on weekdays between the hours of 8:30 am and 5 pm, you may also contact the Compliance and Enforcement Division by calling (631) 288-1079 or by email at You can also complete an incident reporting form and send it to the above email or by fax to (631) 288-1367. For emergencies that require immediate response, please call 911. 

To learn more about compliance and enforcement in the Central Pine Barrens region and to view related reports, legislation and informational brochures visit our online document library and the Law Enforcement Council page under Land Protection. 

For further information, please contact or call (631) 288-1079.