Developer confirms plans to build Meijer in Boardman


Published: Thu, June 7, 2018 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Jordyn Grzelewski

jgrzelewski@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

A development company that was denied a zone- change request by the township zoning commission this week confirmed Wednesday it is pursuing the property at U.S. Route 224 and Lockwood Boulevard to build a Meijer.

“This property is being developed on behalf of Meijer,” said Al Bogna, vice president of real estate for Carnegie Management and Development Corp. “We are just going to follow through with the process as it relates to the trustee vote” that could occur as early as Monday.

At a meeting Tuesday attended by about 40 residents, the zoning commission voted 4-1 to reject a request by Carnegie to rezone a small portion of the property from residential to commercial.

Trustees have 20 days from that time to vote on the zone change, and could take it up at their regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

One resident who attended Tuesday’s meeting and who is opposed to the proposal said he is concerned about additional traffic in an already busy area, the loss of green space, and the stress he believes it would put on safety services.

“It’s a residential area with a beautiful green space. Why would you want to tear it up?” asked Stuart Rothman, who lives near the proposed project site.

“As it is now, that area is not designed to accommodate that many more cars,” he said. “That’s No. 1. The second thing would definitely be there are so many more vacant locations in Boardman that are already empty.”

Bogna said Carnegie looked at other properties in the township, such as the former Kmart building on Route 224, but those did not work for various reasons. The Kmart, for example, was not a large enough site.

“We want to continue to work with the property owners in the area, and we’re trying to address their concerns in a way they’ll feel comfortable moving forward,” Bogna said.

In response to concerns about the impact on the township’s police and fire services, Administrator Jason Loree said the developer noted Meijer has its own security staff, but that issue will be discussed in greater depth.

Rothman said he also was skeptical of the economic impact of the project, which the developer said would create approximately 300 jobs. The estimated construction cost is $25 million.

“I think the idea of a competitive grocery store in the area is something people would like,” Rothman said. “Sure, but what about Sparkle Market, a local company? What about Rulli Bros.? What about the local grocers who are going to suffer?”

The application submitted by Carnegie outlines plans to build on 17 acres, 4 of which currently are zoned residential. The developer has proposed adding 6 acres to an existing easement, for a total of about 22 acres of conservation buffer.

Township officials said that proposal is an uncommon one.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a site that dedicated acreage to conservation in the 12 years I’ve been here,” Loree said. “Typically we don’t see a lot of development do that with property they own.”

Krista Beniston, township zoning and development director, said it would be by far one of the biggest buffers on commercial property in the township.

The site in question is owned by Mercy Health-Youngstown, and Carnegie is looking to purchase it.

Meijer is an American supercenter chain that combines groceries and department-store goods. It is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich.


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