Environmental groups are planning to challenge a state Department of Environmental Protection ruling that would allow a Walmart Supercenter to be constructed at the border of Toms River and Manchester townships on Route 37.
The latest salvo of litigation comes a month after the state's Superior Court Appellate Division sided with with the developer of proposed a 203,091 square foot Walmart Supercenter in a case that centers around the presence of the
northern pine snake, a threatened species in New Jersey, at the site.
The court ruled that a settlement between Jaylin Holdings, the developer, and the DEP to solve the snake issue by physically moving the snakes to a new location and preserving habitat
elsewhere to make up for what would be lost at the Walmart site was legal. Environmentalists are now planning on challenging that ruling.
"The New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club
and other environmental groups
will continue to push to get this decision overturned and have
taken the first
step, filing a petition for certification," said Jeff Tittel, the group's director.
decision were to stand it would be open season on endangered
species and their habitat," Tittel said. "This
is the first time the DEP ever allowed
for the direct take of a species and then created some type of
The environmental groups say that the DEP, after initially ruling against the allowance of permitting for the project, added new facts to the case in order to reverse its own decision.
Along with the Walmart Supercenter, Jaylin has proposed building a 19,884 square foot garden center, 1,049 parking spaces, three
stormwater basins and access roads, while reserving two
outparcels for future use, according to court documents.