The Westhampton Beach, N.Y. club, which has property located within the protected Long Island Central Pine Barrens acreage, will pay a $75,000 fine for building its storage building without obtaining prior permission. It will also be required to implement a plan to re-vegetate the affected area.
The State of New York and the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission have reached a settlement with the Hampton Hills Golf & Country Club in Westchester Beach, N.Y., over its construction of a golf cart storage building without prior permission, Newsday reported.
On July 19, 2016, a settlement was signed by both representatives from the state and golf club, Newsday reported. The settlement includes a fine of $75,000 to be paid over the course of about two years and permission to keep the golf cart storage building intact as long as certain provisions are met, such as staying within the existing footprint.
Hampton Hills G&CC is owned and operated by Hampton Hills Associates, noted Long Island Business News in a separate report. That publication also reported that the club will have to implement a plan to re-vegetate the affected area.
The Long Island Central Pine Barrens—more than 100,000 acres in central Suffolk County, N.Y.—is protected by the 1993 Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act, Newsday reported. The Commission oversees its land use with regulations such as a designation of a 55,000-acre Core Preservation Area, which requires entities to apply and receive a waiver from the Commission before developing on the land.
Between January and May of 2015, Newsday reported, Commission staff observed unapproved construction by the club in the core area, according to a press release from the attorney general’s office. In June of that year, the club applied for the necessary waiver after beginning development, according to the settlement.
Last August, the Commission sought the help of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who filed a lawsuit against the club in December in State Supreme Court in Suffolk County, Newsday reported.
“Long Island’s Pine Barrens are one of New York’s crown natural resource jewels – home to thousands of plant and animal species, and essential to ensuring clean, healthy drinking water for millions of Long Island residents,” Schneiderman said in a press release. “The owners of the Hamptons Hills Golf Course [sic] chose to ignore the law protecting the Pine Barrens, and this settlement holds them accountable.”
“This settlement sends a clear message that neither the Attorney General’s office nor the Pine Barrens Commission will tolerate a ‘build first, apologize later’ approach to development in the Core Preservation Area of the Pine Barrens,” added Richard Amper, Executive Director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, in a separate press release.