TJX FALLOUT | Referendum complaint filed; hearing set for Friday


LORDSTOWN — A group of village residents opposed to HomeGoods building a distribution center at a site on Hallock Young and Ellsworth Bailey roads has filed a civil complaint against the village and the state of Ohio in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

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A group of village residents opposed to HomeGoods building a distribution center at a site on Hallock Young and Ellsworth Bailey roads has filed a civil complaint against the village and the state of Ohio.

The action is seeking a declaratory judgment, temporary restraining order and injunctive relief, according to the filing. The action challenges the legality of sections of the state legislation that was passed in order to expedite a referendum on zone changes that were approved for the project.

The legislation pushed up the date of the referendum, which took place Tuesday and passed with 77 percent of the vote.

The complaint argues that sections of the legislation, House Bill 292, violate the Uniformity Clause of the Ohio Constitution, arguing that the bill “does not operate uniformly throughout the state.”

The parties that filed the complaint, calling themselves “Committee of Lordstown Concerned Residents,” includes about two dozen people who “reside in the neighboring residential development in very close proximity to the TJX project.”

The filing, in arguing for a temporary restraining order and/or injunction, states, “It is not in the best interest of the public to permit the circumvention of the legislative process and the Ohio Revised Code for the purpose of permitting the construction of a distribution center on residential property. There is currently other viable industrial zoned property in Lordstown that is available for this project.”

Atty. David Nichol of Akron filed the suit at the Trumbull County Clerk of Court's office, then hand delivered a copy to the office of Judge Peter Kontos, who is assigned the case.

A temporary restraining order hearing on the request is now set for 1:30 p.m. Friday in the case.

Nichol said if Judge Kontos approves a temporary restraining order, it would prohibit the village and state from taking steps to implement or enforce the two provisions of the new state law enacted to speed up the TJX vote by Lordstown Village Council.

An second hearing to hear evidence on whether to grant a preliminary or permanent injunction is usually held within a couple weeks after that, Nichol said.

Outside of the Trumbull County Courthouse a short time later, state Rep. Glenn Holmes, D-63rd of McDonald, said he was "comfortable with what we did in the Senate and the House" and disappointed that the individuals filing the legal action would not accept the "mandate by 70 percent of their neighbors" in Tuesday's election.

State Sen . Sean O'Brien, D-32nd of Bazetta, was also at the Courthouse and said he believes the company is "going to move forward until a judge tells them otherwise."

He added, "I think the constitutionality is there, so I'm not worried" about the legal filing.

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