Brookhaven Acquires additional 152 acres of Pine Barrens in Manorville

The town of Brookhaven has acquired 152 acres of wooded land in Manorville, which will be preserved to protect the habitat of various creatures including great horned owls and white-tailed deer. The land was acquired through a transfer of development rights, which helped the town preserve environmentally sensitive land while allowing developer Rose-Breslin Associates to complete its Meadows mixed-use project in Yaphank. The land swap enabled Rose-Breslin to build an additional 152 housing units at the Meadows, bringing the total to nearly 1,000 homes, a hotel, assisted living facilities, ballfields, and a retail center.

While the company could have built a warehouse on 60% of the land, it did not have any plans for the Manorville property. The acquisition of the land by Brookhaven will enable the town to preserve the area long into the future without incurring any cost to taxpayers. The property is located in the compatible growth area of the pine barrens, where development is subject to strict limitations under state law.

The Manorville property is one of the 15 major parcels included on the Pine Barrens Society’s “Best of the Rest” list of land that should be permanently preserved for open space protection. However, Richard Amper, the Riverhead nonprofit’s executive director, expressed concerns about the vulnerability of the land to illegal dumping that has plagued similar remote Pine Barrens properties. The Brookhaven Town Board voted 6-0 to increase fines for illegal dumping in the pine barrens and elsewhere.

The acquisition of the land by Brookhaven is a significant step in preserving the environment and protecting the wildlife in the area. The Pine Barrens sprawl over 105,000 acres in the towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead, and Southampton, and the state commission supervises the area and coordinates patrols from its own officers as well as state, Suffolk County, and town law enforcement agencies. The town of Brookhaven is committed to preserving its open space and taking necessary steps to prevent illegal dumping in the area.

In addition to the above, the Town Board voted 6-0 on Thursday to impose stiffer fines for illegal dumping in public areas such as the pine barrens. Here are the new penalties:

First offenses

Minimum fines increased from $500 to $5,000.

Maximum fines boosted to $10,000 per occurrence and a prison sentence of 15 days.

Second offenses

$10,000 minimum fine

$20,000 maximum fine, plus 15 days in jail.

SOURCE: Town of Brookhaven