After an initial version of the project was rejected by the state Department of Environmental Protection in June 2006, the partners and their professionals conferred repeatedly with DEP experts on shortcomings in the plan. In three years, a redesigned package emerged: a buffer area and adjacent woodlands to be preserved around a snake den, preserving another 21 adjacent acres, and enhancing other areas for pine snakes west of Lakehurst.
Yet pine snakes were at the top of the list of issues when the DEP again denied a Coastal Area Facility Review Act application for Walmart. Other regulatory issues over building and paving areas versus open space loomed large in the decision too, and Gov. Chris Christie got involved when he heard about the rejection Monday evening.
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