By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HOWLAND -- Township, Trumbull County, Warren and Niles officials have agreed to work together on a proposed development along state Route 46.
Officials from the local entities and the Ohio Department of Transportation met Monday to discuss the potential impact on traffic at a Sam's Club that is being proposed at a site near Lowe's.
The store is being developed by the DeBartolo Corp., but representatives from the company didn't attend.
"We are not anti-development," said Rick Clark, a Howland Township trustee. "Our concern is with the traffic on 46, and our residents bring their concerns to us almost daily."
Darlene St. George, township administrator, said the meeting was to gather information on what she called a regional project. The intersection of state routes 46 and 82 in the township, near the proposed project, already is an area of congestion, St. George said.
"We want to continue to work with the state and the county whenever there's a development within Howland Township," St. George said.
George Brown, township fire chief, said the 82/46 intersection is the busiest in the township. It also sees more accidents than the township's other intersections.
In November, township officials sent a letter to ODOT listing traffic concerns and requesting a meeting to discuss them.
In earlier meetings, Warren officials have said a gas station and a 300-unit upscale apartment complex also are planned for the area.
Most of the property to be developed is in Warren.
"The proposed development has the potential for an additional 20,000 in-and-out trips per day onto 46," St. George said.
Michael Keys, Warren's community development director, said there are no definite plans for a housing complex and the company hasn't submitted plans to the city for development of the store. Discussions have centered on a road leading to the property.
Earlier this month Warren City Council changed an ordinance that would have allocated $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant money for a 1,000-foot road off Route 46 that would have opened the area for development, but instead allocated the money for neighborhood street resurfacing.
Warren officials also are concerned about traffic.
"But the problems aren't caused by this project. The problems already exist," Keys said. "Maybe this project will act as a catalyst to addressing the problem."
Joe DeFuria of ODOT said the department plans to add a turn lane off Route 46 onto Route 82 north and to add an additional left turn lane off Route 82 onto Route 46 south.
ODOT doesn't have any jurisdiction over land use, officials said. That is up to local officials. Without seeing plans, ODOT officials couldn't answer questions about the traffic impact.