In a victory for Long Island residents and all New Yorkers who value our natural resources, O&B’s Matt Bryant led the firm’s efforts to defeat a lawsuit backed by the construction lobby and private developers attacking the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission’s management of the 100,000 acre pine-forests and wetlands.
The Pine Barrens lands are critical natural resources for the State. In addition to one of the greatest concentrations of endangered and threatened animal and plant species, the Pine Barrens provide deep flow recharge to Suffolk’s County’s sole underground water aquifer — the State’s largest source of pure ground water – and protects an estimated 60 trillion gallons of drinking water for Suffolk County’s 1.4 million residents. The Commission manages these protected lands under The Pine Barrens Protection Act of 1993 and is vested with the right to limit and redirect development away from Pine Barrens’ Core Area through the use of Pine Barrens Credits, a form of transferable development rights or TDR’s, which were distributed to affected landowners and can now be bought and sold through the Pine Barrens Credit Clearinghouse.
Pluralis, LLC, a private developer and the largest holder of Credits, backed by the Long Island Builders Institute, sued the Commission and Town of Brookhaven asserting its rights as a Credits holder by alleging that the Commission improperly manages and enforces the Pine Barrens Credit Program resulting in a de facto taking of more than $20,000,000 in total losses to the Credits market.
O&B defended the Commission, successfully moving to dismiss by counter attacking the Credit holder’s standing and right to bring a private cause of action to enforce the Act or challenge the Commission’s legislative and executive functions.
The dismissal was a complete victory for the Commission. Credit holders who feel aggrieved under the Act or Credit Program are limited to pursuing their rights as strictly provided under the Act but cannot challenge Commission policy.
O&B has been aggressively litigating and solving regional and national problems for over three decades. With offices in Garden City, Manhattan and New Jersey, O&B is a long standing member of the entire New York Metropolitan business community. O&B has extensive experience defending municipalities and enjoys a Government Affairs practice led by former State Senate Minority Leader Manfred Ohrenstein. For a consultation on commercial, government, and regulatory affairs, call our attorneys at (888) 260-6821.