LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Mayor Arno Hill is anticipating a groundbreaking in early or mid-April on a $170 million regional distribution center following last night’s vote by the Lordstown Planning Commission.
The village planning commission unanimously gave conditional approval for the site plan presented by TJX Companies Inc. for a regional distribution center it plans to build on approximately 300 acres in Lordstown. The commission also approved a pair of variances for the project. The warehouse would serve TJX’s HomeGoods chain of stores.
With the conditional approval, TJX can move forward on completing the land purchases for the project, Hill said. “We should be OK” for a groundbreaking next month, he predicted.
The project, as outlined by village officials and engineers and architects representing TJX, includes a 1.24-million-square-foot warehouse and distribution center, a 465-square-foot pump house, and a 184-square-foot guard house on the property. The site plan also calls for three curb cuts, one at Hallock-Young Road and Ellsworth-Bailey Road, along with two more on Ellsworth-Bailey.
Kellie Bordner, village planning and zoning administrator/economic development director, reported that there would be no blasting at the development site.
During the nearly two-hour meeting, representatives of MS Consultants, a Youngstown engineering firm, and Ware Malcomb, a Phoenix-based architectural firm, addressed various issues associated with the project, including traffic engineering and stormwater runoff. Of the three proposed driveways, two would be signaled, while a third, at the truck entrance, would have a flashing beacon, said Jennifer Howdyshell, traffic engineer for MS Consultants.
Karel Cubick, senior environmental planner for MS, reported that applications for permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency are in the review process and MS is working on final details of the mitigation plan for stream impacts.
“Those reviews are in process and literally daily we are in talks,” Cubick reported. “We expect that those will be completed within the next couple of weeks.”
The site will use directed lighting to mitigate excess light from spilling out beyond the property, reported Henry Chan of Ware Malcomb.
Stuart Strasfeld, an attorney from Roth Blair Roberts Strasfeld & Lodge representing TJX, also reported that per a meeting with Ohio EPA that afternoon, the proposed conservation easements would not be used for recreation purposes.
Approximately 50 people attended the meeting, including consultants for TJX, village and economic development officials. Per Hill’s recommendation, the commission did not open the meeting to public comments.
“Anybody that wanted to talk, they weren’t going to offer anything additional that hasn’t been brought up in the last six or eight or 10 meetings,” Hill said. “The ones who are against it are still against it.”
Conditional approval of the site plan was awarded and is contingent upon TJX meeting a series of requirements within 180 days of issuance of a letter by the village outlining those requirements.
Among the issues TJX and MS Consultants have to address are formal acquisition of all the parcels involved in the project and recording of the deeds for those properties; finalization of the conservation easement, with documentation provided to the village; securing final approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and Ohio EPA regarding any proposed environmental impacts of the project; approval of the sewer and water utility system by the village; and addressing any and all concerns raised by CT Consultants, the village engineer, in its March 8 memo.
“Generally speaking, the design meets the requirements of the village,” said Chris Kogelnik, Youngstown regional manager for CT Consultants and village engineer. Most of the concerns he presented at the meeting “were small in regard to the larger picture,” but still need to be addressed before construction begins, and there should be “ample time” to accomplish that, he said.
“Most of these are just smaller issues,” Hill affirmed. “They’ll get everything worked out.”
Two years after the distribution center commences operations, TJX is required, at its expense, to employ traffic engineers to perform a traffic study, which it must provide to the village to determine whether additional signals are required, including at the truck entrance. If there is sufficient evidence supporting additional signals because of traffic flow in and out of the facility or because of the number of accidents in the area, TJX will install those at its expense.
“None of this phases me in terms of what has to be done. This can all be worked out,” said Mark Walker, senior vice president of real estate for HomeGoods, said. “I don’t have any doubts that we’ll get it worked through.”
Among the two waivers approved was one lowering the amount of required parking spaces at the distribution center, which will have 933 employees total between the two shifts initially projected.
The village requires one parking space for every 500 square feet, which would have required 2,474 spaces, thereby increasing the amount of impermeable surface area at the site. The commission approved the company’s request to provide 998 standard spaces and 20 spaces compliant with provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Sarah Boyarko, chief operating officer for the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, said she was pleased that the site plan received conditional approval.
“We think all the concerns were addressed,” she said. “We could not be more pleased with the outcome, and look forward to next steps with the EPA as well as with the company and the village continuing engagement and conversation on the items that need to be approved.”
Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.