Fireworks warehouse wins permit approval
The facility would be the size of four football fields.
By VIRGINIA ROSS
NORTH LIMA -- B.J. Alan Co. is edging closer toward building a fireworks warehouse off East Calla Road.
The Beaver Township Zoning Appeals Board granted B.J. Alan a conditional-use permit to build the facility -- providing several requirements are met.
B.J. Alan Co., which owns Phantom Fireworks on Market Street, is looking to build a 360,000 square-foot warehouse -- the size of four football fields -- at the site, which is between Market Street and Woodworth Road.
The area is zoned industrial, meaning the construction of a warehouse there is permissible under the township's zoning regulations.
But because the project involves fireworks, the zoning appeals board was permitted to place conditions on project.
The board, at Tuesday's public hearing on the matter, agreed the warehouse can store consumer, not professional, fireworks. There can be no manufacturing or assembling of any fireworks at the site. Also, fireworks cannot be sold there.
Once the facility is built, it cannot be occupied until water and sewer connections are in place and Calla Road is upgraded to support the truck traffic expected to and from the site.
Also, the setback in the front of the warehouse must be at least 200 feet from the edge of the right of way there.
"We're willing to work with the township on this," said William Weimer, B.J. Alan's vice president and general counsel. "It's important for the board to remember this warehouse is a permissible use under the township's zoning resolution. The only question should be whether we are willing to comply with the conditions placed on this project. And we are."
Last month. B.J. Alan applied for a conditional-use permit and related variances pertaining to the construction of the fireworks warehouse.
The property is owned by David Diebel of Boardman Steel. The estimated project cost is 18 million. The fireworks would be created in China, transported to the township via Cleveland and stored in the warehouse.
Township trustees have said they do not support the fireworks company's proposal, but there is little they can do to stop it because of the township's zoning allowances at the site.
It was obvious many people at the hearing were disappointed in the outcome. Some 100 people attended, many of them leaving once the decision was made to approve the conditional-use request.
"We tried," said township resident Mike Lynch. "But it looks like we lost."
A group of concerned residents conducted informational meetings and circulated petitions to try to stop the project from proceeding.
Residents said they have safety concerns, among them that the facility would be too close to the turnpike, railroad tracks, residences and schools, and it would have a negative impact on their property values.