Although the LIPBS eventually lost the suit in the Court of Appeals, New York State's highest court, after winning at the Appellate level, citizens continued to press for action. Ultimately, this led to an unprecedented convergence of environmentalists, business leaders and government representatives to produce the Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act. This Act, initiated in and passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by the governor, protects the Pine Barrens forever.
The Legislation has several important components. First, it established a five member
Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning & Policy Commission to oversee the development and implementations of a Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP); it also delineated two major regions within the 100,000 acre area - a 53,000 acre
Core Preservation Area where no new development is permitted (55,000 with the
addition of the
Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge
in 1998) and a 47,000 acre Compatible Growth Area where limited, environmentally compatible development is allowed. The Plan also recommends that 75% of the core preservation area be preserved through public acquisition. The CMP was adopted by the Pine Barrens Commission in 1995
and updated in 2005.
To make the plan a reality the Core Preservation Area must be acquired. Funds approved by voters for the preservation of drinking water were, and continue to be, used to purchase Core acreage. An interesting feature of this plan, and one needed to make this plan a reality, is the concept of transfer of development rights (TDR). This provision makes it possible for landowner/developers who own land in the Core Preservation Area to acquire the rights to build in another location by transferring ownership of the Core lands to a government entity for perpetual preservation.