Development in the Central Pine Barrens region is guided by the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission’s Land Use Division. The Land Use Division reviews development projects and land use management plans within the Central Pine Barrens and works collaboratively with other agencies to develop regional land use policies for current and long-range planning initiatives that foster the protection of the Core Preservation Area (CPA) while promoting compliant development in appropriate areas within the Compatible Growth Area (CGA). The division seeks to protect the region’s unique and diverse natural resources while also allowing for suitable economic development that complies with the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The Land Use Division provides bi-monthly reports to the Commission on land use initiatives and development projects in the Central Pine Barrens. Copies of these reports can be obtained by visiting our online document library under the category "land use".
Projects reviewed directly by the Commission are considered development as defined in New York State Environmental Conservation Law Article 57 (NYS ECL Article 57). The Commission has direct jurisdiction over projects in the Compatible Growth Area (CGA) that require a hardship waiver, if the application does not meet one or more land use plan development standards, or projects of a specific category for which a Commission review and decision is required. These are projects which are of regional significance, located in a critical resource area or those over which the Commission has asserted its jurisdiction pursuant to NYS ECL Article 57. The Commission’s jurisdiction pertaining to development in the Central Pine Barrens and the terms “development of regional significance,” “critical resource area” and “assertion of jurisdiction” are further explained in Volume 1 of the land use plan and NYS ECL Article 57. Follow this link to find out if your parcel is located in the Central Pine Barrens.
The three towns in which the Central Pine Barrens region is located -- Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southampton -- have adopted into their town zoning codes the development requirements for projects in the Central Pine Barrens. This enables these municipalities to review projects in the CGA to determine conformance with the Commission’s development standards. If a project does not meet these standards, it would either need to be revised to conform or be forwarded to the Commission to obtain a hardship waiver permit.
Projects in the CPA that are considered development as defined by NYS ECL Article 57 require a hardship waiver from the Commission based either on extraordinary hardship or compelling public need as identified in NYS ECL Article 57. The towns cannot approve development projects in the CPA unless and until a Commission hardship waiver permit has been obtained.
Applicants for projects requiring hardship waivers from the Commission need to submit an application to the Commission. A public hearing is required to be conducted on such projects as part of the Commission’s review process. There is also a statutory decision deadline that the Commission must meet when reviewing a hardship waiver request.
There are also provisions in NYS ECL Article 57 defining actions considered to be non-development and therefore not requiring Commission review. (A copy of NYS ECL Article 57 can be obtained from our online document library under the category "Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act".) Project sponsors who are uncertain as to whether or not they need a hardship permit or other approval from the Commission, or consider their project to be non-development, can request a determination of jurisdiction from the Commission by sending a letter to the Commission that explains the details of the project and includes related project materials.
Additional information pertaining to development project preview and the application process can be accessed at this link: Development project application review process.
Pine Barrens Credits and Development
Pine Barrens Credits, development rights which have been transferred from the CPA, may be used for development projects occurring with the CGA portion of the Central Pine Barrens and also outside of the Central Pine Barrens area to increase density or intensity in appropriate locations. Certain portions of the CGA are designated as “As-of-Right” Receiving Areas, areas previously deemed appropriate in which a certain number or percentage of credits may be allowed to be used, up to a specific limit, without the need for special additional approvals. The “As-of-Right” Receiving Areas were established to help encourage and facilitate the use of Pine Barrens Credits to advance further protection of environmentally-sensitive land in the CPA.
For further information on how Pine Barrens Credits may be used for development projects visit the Credit Program (TDR) section on our website and for information on projects that have redeemed Credits, visit our online document library and select the category "Credit Program".
To learn more about the development project review process or to obtain hardship waiver application materials, statistics on current or past development project decisions or non-development determinations or to view current or prior litigation cases pertaining to land use, visit our online document library and select the category "development project applications" and "project decisions and statistics". Projects that are currently under review by the Commission, along with their application materials and public hearing transcripts, can also be viewed in our online document library, select the category "development project applications".
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 631-288-1079.