WalMart Toms River-Manchester Site
Jaylin holdings has submitted an application for a new development at the old Walmart site at the border of Toms River and Manchester. This site provides valuable habitat for northern pine snakes and Pine Barrens treefrogs as well as essential ecosystem services for Barnegat Bay.
After 13 years, Walmart has pulled out of the Toms River/Manchester Township site that is home to threatened species. This is in no small part thanks to the tireless activism of residents and environmental organizations. However, the fight is not over.
Jaylin Holdings, the developer, has submitted a new application for development on the site. It is of a comparable size and risk as the previous applications.
At this point, there has been no public hearing scheduled. This type of project requires a public hearing. Submit a comment to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection demanding a hearing.
On March 16, 2010 the NJ DEP issued a denial of this second application. The applicant filed an appeal and after many months of settlement talks the NJ DEP issued a permit on April 18, 2012. (click here)
[+ ZOOM] Aerial photo of the location of the new WalMart. © PPA
This permit was issued despite two previous rejections because the proposed site was determined to be habitat for the state threatened northern pine snake. The proposed permit will allow the construction of the store in exchange for 212 acres of enhanced Northern Pine Snake habitat in another portion of Manchester Township.
PPA and other environmental groups don’t feel the permit conditions are favorable for the Northern Pine Snake because 6 separate tracks of land are being proposed. The tracts of land are fragmented and would have to be enhanced to make them attractive to the snakes. This would involve activities like constructing wintering den areas, removing underbrush, thinning trees and blocking off-road vehicle traffic.
The following were submitted to the NJ DEP during the settlement process:
WalMart - Comments by Environmental Groups - 265.8KB
submitted by New Jersey Conservation Foundation, New Jersey Audubon Society, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, NY/NJ Baykeeper, New Jersey Environmental Federation, Environment New Jersey, Sierra Club (New Jersey Chapter) on January 20, 2012.
The following items are are part of the DEP file:
The following documents pertain to the application and settlement:
WalMart - Endangered and Threatened Habitat Impact Assessment Report - Nov 29, 2010 - 3.1MB
For Block 505, Lots 14,15, Block 44, Lots 2, 3, 4 & 5, prepared by EcolSciences, Inc. (revised from the September 23, 2009 report below)
Comments and/or recommendations by NJDEP Endangered and Nongame Species Program:
PPA's reactions to the settlement permit and mitigation plan:
1. Barnegat Bay loses again. All this new impervious surface will negate some part of the Governor Christie’s plan for the Barnegat Bay. If NJDEP administration keeps approving developments like this in the watershed, where it has regulatory leverage, then it will ultimately defeat all efforts and public expenditures. How much public money has to be spent fixing stormwater basins just to make up for the new nutrient loads coming off this development?
2. PPA doesn’t think the CAFRA rules let DEP do this kind of mitigation for a development that admittedly violates the habitat protection standard for on-site development impacts.
3. The mitigation plan is speculative and temporary. The habitat improvement measures are unproven, and the challenge is at least significant given how bad the mitigation parcels look for this purpose.
4. The offsetting or mitigation land that has been proposed, is not appropriate northern pine snake habitat. The parcels are disconnected from the known habitat (with one exception adjoining the Walmart parcel); the parcels are even disconnected from one another; so they do not form a coherent, contiguous area sufficient to support a northern pine snake population. The parcels adjoin private, developable lands, including the Pinelands Village of Beckerville, so we can expect the fragmentation to get worse over time. Some parcels are mostly, some almost entirely, wetlands, which is not good northern pine snake habitat. One parcel is a former illegal sludge application site (the so-called Lewis site). It’s really pretty shocking that DEP didn’t even make the developer come up with contiguous parcels!
5. There doesn’t seem to be a credible mechanism to protect these disconnected parcels permanently. After the Stafford Business Park diversion (with no compensating land protection), state government has about zero credibility using conservation deed restrictions.
Memorandums by John Heilferty, Division of Land Use Regulation (from DEP file).
Comments submitted by other environmental groups on the second application:
Older documents related to the project:
On March 10, 2010 the Endangered and Nongame Species Program issued an environmental review indicating a loss of northern pine snake habitat would occur if the site was developed. Read the report below:
Earlier documents that have been submitted to NJ DEP:
The Pinelands Preservation Alliance jointly with the American Littoral Society submitted comments to the New Jersey DEP requesting that they deny the first application submitted by Jaylin Holdings due to the fact it did not meet all applicable CAFRA rules. Read our comments.