Economic Development

Officials: TJX Willing to Go Extra Mile With Residents

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – TJX Companies Inc. is willing to turn over a minimum of 100 acres of its development site to a conservancy in order to provide a buffer zone for residents who are concerned about further industrial growth near their neighborhood, officials said Monday.

“We’re all pro-business, we all want to make sure we want to take care of the residents and their concerns,” Mayor Arno Hill said during a press conference in his office.

Joining him were U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio; state Sen. Sean O’Brien, D- 32 Bazetta; state Rep. Glenn Holmes, D-63 McDonald; and state Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-64 Warren.

Since it announced its plan to build a 1.2-million-square-foot distribution center along Ellsworth-Bailey Road in the township several months ago, TJX has said that it would always provide some sort of buffer area between the development and residents.

However, residents who live nearby the proposed development site are against the project’s location because they say it would increase truck traffic and impair the values of their property.

The land was rezoned to industrial last month in order to accommodate the $160 million project, which is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs. Those who oppose the location of the project have gathered about 150 signatures each on seven petitions against the rezoning of the seven parcels needed for the project.

The petitions must be submitted by July 21 in order for the issue to be place on the ballot for a vote on Aug. 21.

“I believe the referendum will fail, by about 60-40,” Hill said, although he urged all registered voters to cast their ballot on Aug. 21 in support of the project.

Ryan said the strong show of support from his office and those of the state legislators should send a message to the community that TJX is committed to both economic development and preserving the rights of the residents.

“We’re here to let them know that we have very confident that this will be taken care of, that there’s going to be an adequate buffer, and the company at the highest level is committed to doing this,” Ryan said. “We’ve had some great meetings with the company and their committed to being really good partners here.”

Hill said the company and village have been in talks with Trumbull County MetroParks, the Western Reserve Land Conservancies, and other entities in order to assure residents that the land would not be sold and reused for an industrial purpose.

The acreage would not be transferred into a conservancy for three to six months after TJX acquires the land, Hill said. It would not impair the timeline on the project, though, and the mayor said the company would like to start construction in the fall.

TJX officials submitted the new plans at a Village Council meeting later that evening, including a draft covenant with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency that would oversee conservation of the acreage.

“We hope that our engagement with the Ohio EPA, the Trumbull County MetroParks, and Wester Reserve Land Conservancy reiterates our commitment to donate this land as part of our proposed plans to develop this land responsibly,” the company said in a statement.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.