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Land Use

The Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission oversees land use in the Central Pine Barrens region to ensure conformity with New York State Environmental Conservation Law (NYS ECL) Article 57, which geographically defined the region in 1993.  The enactment of this law DSCN9347mandated the creation of a Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the Central Pine Barrens to guide regional land use and land management in order to protect the diverse and unique ecological communities of the Core Preservation Area (CPA) as well as surface water and groundwater resources   and to facilitate compact, orderly and efficient development in the Compatible Growth Area (CGA). The law and land use plan are the guiding documents for land use and land management in the Central Pine Barrens. Copies of these documents can be obtained from our online document library.

The Comprehensive Land Use Plan was finalized in 1995 and is required by NYS ECL Article 57 to be reviewed by the Commission at least once every five years and to determine at that time if potential amendments to the Land Use Plan and updates to the Land Use Plan’s generic environmental impact statement should be undertaken. A public hearing is required to be held to receive public comments on the effectiveness of implementation of the land use plan.

The land use plan consists of two volumes.  Volume 1 is entitled Policies, Programs and Standards and Volume 2 is entitled Existing Conditions.  


Currently, Volume 1 of the Plan has undergone an extensive review and draft amendments have been developed that revise Chapters 4, 5 and 6, which concern the Commission’s jurisdiction, development project review and the Pine Barrens Credit (transfer of development rights) program. The amendments include ministerial changes to incorporate various measures that have become standard practice over time and which were previously approved by the Commission. Additional amendments include revisions to improve and clarify certain sections of the plan that create a better understanding of the development project review process and the Credit program requirements and enhance environmental protection. The lengthy process that led to the  development of plan amendments for these chapters is currently at the environmental review stage under SEQRA and a draft Supplemental GEIS is presently being prepared.

If you would like to see if a parcel is located in the Central Pine Barrens to determine whether a proposed project or other proposed land use falls under the Commission’s jurisdiction, contact or call 631-288-1079.

Land Use Complaints, Investigations and Violations

In August 2003, NYS ECL Article 57 was amended to provide specific penalties for violations of the law, the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and related topics. The amended section is 57-0136, "Penalties and Enforcement," which can be obtained from our online document library. How land use complaints, investigations and violations are handled in the Central Pine Barrens is discussed under the Compliance and Enforcement and Law Enforcement Council sections of this website. 

The 1-877-BARRENS telephone number on our home page can be used to report non-emergency alleged land use violations or incidents. For emergency situations, please call 911.

To learn more about land use and management in the Central Pine Barrens or to obtain a copy of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and NYS ECL Article 57 and related documents, visit our online document library and select the category "land use".

If you have any questions concerning land use policy, regulations, Commission jurisdiction, or whether a parcel is in the Central Pine Barrens, contact or call 631-288-1079.