The commission also recommended changing the depth of commercial activity permitted on U.S. Route 224 in Canfield.
THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
AUSTINTOWN -- A proposed business park that developers said could create up to 1,500 jobs has cleared its first hurdle by winning the approval of the Mahoning County Planning Commission.
The commission agreed to recommend a zone change that would pave the way for Centerpointe Business Park, a 379-acre development south of Interstate 80 near state Route 11 in Austintown.
The issue goes before the Austintown Zoning Commission at 7 p.m. Thursday. Austintown trustees have the final say and probably will vote in early November.
A handful of residents at Tuesday's planning commission meeting said they had concerns about the proposal, and one said he may lead a petition drive to put the issue on the ballot.
"That's probably what we'll have to do," said Jamie Williams, who lives on Lanterman Road adjacent to the proposed park.
The land is owned by Route 46 Land Partners in Youngstown. Jonathan Levy, president, said the business park could include $90 million worth of warehouses, retail buildings and offices and create 1,000 to 1,500 jobs.
"I would say those are reasonable, conservative estimates," he told the planning commission.
Scott Weasel, chief executive officer of Peterman Associates Inc. of Findlay, said a big chunk of the land will be set aside as a wetland preserve and include a 50-foot buffer strip separating the park from homes in the area. Peterman is the architectural and engineering firm for the development.
Jack Kumik, who lives on Lanterman Road, described the area as a beautiful country setting where residents can hear crickets and frogs at night, and he said he's concerned the business park will change that.
"That doesn't give the residents much protection," Kumik said about the 50-foot buffer.
Kumik said he also fears Lanterman Road will be widened to accommodate tractor-trailers going in and out of the new development. Weaver said he doesn't think there will be tractor-trailer traffic on Lanterman Road as a result of the business park.
Canfield Township zone change
In other business, the planning commission approved a zone change along U.S. Route 224 near the Ohio Turnpike in Canfield Township to allow for CTW Development Corp.'s plans to build a retail center, office buildings, hotel, condominiums and homes.
The proposal could go before Canfield trustees Oct. 7.
The township allows business development up to 500 feet in from U.S. Route 224. The zone change would push that boundary an additional 500 feet.
Two years ago, the developer proposed moving the boundary by 300 feet. Opponents circulated petitions and placed a referendum on the ballot. Voters turned down the zone change by a near 2-to-1 margin.
The planning commission also approved requests from Boardman and Austintown to change their ordinances restricting the location of adult businesses.