Pine Barrens commission: Broad support from public on Kent expansion

Kent Shelter

Kent Animal Shelter has quite a fan base in support of its proposal to expand its shelter on Calverton shelter on River Road.

According to Julie Hargrave, a planner with the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission, there have been 61 letters sent to the commission about the application, with the majority being in support.

In addition, she said the commission has received a petition in support of the application signed by 637 people, and the towns of Riverhead and Brookhaven both have sent letters of support.

Kent has been trying to expand and upgrade its nearly 50-year-old shelter on River Road in Calverton, but because it lies in core of the state’s Central Pine Barrens region, new development there is not allowed without a waiver from the commission.

The Commission is comprised of representatives from New York State, Suffolk County and the towns of Riverhead, Southampton and Brookhaven towns.

The project’s chief opposition has come from Richard Amper, the executive director of the non-profit Long Island Pine Barrens Society, an environmental watchdog organization not affiliated with the Pine Barrens commission. Mr. Amper maintains that Kent cannot legally expand where they are located, and vows to bring legally against if the commission approves the plan.

He said the letters in support of Kent’s application need to look at the specific requirements needed to obtain a waiver to allow development in the core.

Otherwise, he said, “you are prohibited by law from granting a waiver unless that criteria is addressed.”

The commission plans to make a decision on the application on Oct. 21.

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