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A Suffolk County judge dismisses lawsuit over new development in the Pine Barrens

Central Pine Barrens Planning and Policy Commission

A Suffolk County judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the construction of a golf community in East Quogue. It is set to become the largest development in Long Island’s ecologically sensitive Pine Barrens.

600 acres would be used for an 18-hole golf course, a clubhouse, over 100 luxury homes and more. Brought by environmentalists and community members, the lawsuit claims the proposed development is in violation of zoning restrictions, given the size and intensity of the project.

The suit was dismissed over “lack of standing.” Group for the East End has been leading the charge. Their president Bob DeLuca said he was surprised by the lawsuit’s rejection.

“On the one side, you have the significant departure from the decades-long concern for the protection of the resources that lie beneath the Pine Barrens, and the Pine Barrens ecosystem,” he said.

“On the other hand, you also have local zoning, which in our view, has been badly abused here, and the kind of precedent that gets set.”

Nina Leonhardt with the Long Island Pine Barrens Society said the main environmental concern is over the quality of drinking water.

“It is a pristine area that allows for the percolation of rainwater to pass through the ground and replenish our aquifer,” she said. “On Long Island, we have a sole-source aquifer — our only source of drinking water."

Group for the East End along with other petitioners are appealing the decision.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.