Boardman trustees delay vote on Meijer store zone change request


Proposed site of Meijer store

Boardman Township trustees OK 30-day continuance

By Jordyn Grzelewski

jgrzelewski@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Township trustees will hold off for now on voting on a zone change for the site of a proposed Meijer store.

The board approved a 30-day continuance Monday that was requested on behalf of the company. The township zoning commission previously voted 4-1 against the zone change request, a decision the trustees have the power to overturn. The Mahoning County Planning Commission previously approved it.

Project developer Carnegie Management and Development Corp. has applied for a zone change for a small section of the property that is located at U.S. Route 224 and Lockwood Boulevard.

The company wants to rezone 4 of the 39 acres from residential to commercial, and invest between $20 million and $25 million in building a facility it says will employ more than 250 people.

Currently, 13 acres already are zoned commercial. The company wants to develop on 17 acres, then add to an existing conservation easement.

Under that plan, the conservation easement would total 22 acres, which township officials said would be one of the largest buffers in a commercial area. Those 22 acres would be conserved as wetlands, with no possibility of future development, township officials said.

Some residents who live near the proposed project site have raised concerns about a number of issues, including traffic, crime, water management and green space.

“It’s not that we’re opposed to progress. We applaud progress. But it’s infringing on the residential part of it,” said Diane Holt, who lives across the street. “That’s why it’s zoned residential.”

Holt also said she was concerned about the crime that could accompany a big-box store such as Meijer, and how that might impact the surrounding neighborhoods.

She was among a group of residents who attended the meeting and expressed their concerns to the trustees.

Also in attendance was Janelle Farmer, whose mother lives on Lockwood. Farmer said she is concerned about crime, traffic, the overall impact on businesses in the township, and the potential impact on her mother’s property value.

“I worry it’s going to collapse the center of Boardman,” she said. “We already have a lot of empty buildings. ... It’s just going to be a concrete jungle in Boardman.”

Both Holt and Farmer said they would like to see the trustees turn down the zone-change request.

Trustee Brad Calhoun said township officials also have questions about traffic and water management.

“It’s important to us that we don’t have a big traffic jam there. There is a lot of residential there,” he said, referring to Lockwood.

The company is in the process of having a traffic study done, which the Ohio Department of Transportation requires. Township officials said they expect the results of that study will be ready before the trustees vote in 30 days.

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

For answers to frequently asked questions about the project and maps showing the proposed changes, go to www.boardmantwp.com.

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