By KALEA HALL
Lordstown was greeted again this week by HomeGoods with its plans to build a distribution center, but this time residents heard from the company in a private setting.
Inside the community room at the Lordstown Administration Center, those residents also vented their concerns about the project.
Top concerns include the rezoning of residential land for industrial use for the project, traffic, the impact on property values for neighboring residents and the appearance of the facility.
After a packed public meeting last week, Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and the company invited residents from the Imperial modular home community, which is across the street from the proposed facility on Ellsworth Bailey Road, and homes behind the development site. The two private meetings took place Tuesday evening.
Ralph Christmas, who lives on Hallock Young Road, which is currently planned for realignment for the facility, thinks the community needs to get behind the project and “bring it here” since HomeGoods says within five years, the center will employ 1,000.
“I’d hate to see lordstown lose out,” he said. “They [HomeGoods] have done their homework. They know this is where they need to be.”
Bob Shaffer, a resident of Pritchard Ohltown Road, hopes the project comes to fruition for the same reason: jobs.
“We are losing business around our neighborhood, the Valley and the area for that matter,” Shaffer said. “For someone to come in and offer 1,000 jobs...I think it’s a fantastic thing for the whole [Mahoning] Valley, not just Lordstown.”
Phil Eubank, a resident of Silver Fox Drive, is still concerned about the project. He would like to see the woodlands buffer area HomeGoods is looking to purchase become a protected environmental site held by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Glenn Meadows, a resident of the Imperial community, thought the meeting Tuesday night went well and the company addressed concerns residents had.
“Overall, I think it will be a good thing for the village and Northeast Ohio,” Meadows said. “I am never against new jobs.”
HomeGoods spokeswoman Erika Tower said the company had “productive conversations” with residents at the meetings.
“We gathered feedback on some initial ideas for addressing concerns and learned more by listening to input and ideas,” she said in a statement.
HomeGoods, Tower said, will continue to “carefully consider” the feedback as the company prepares for the village’s planning commission meeting set for Monday.
“HomeGoods is committed to being a good neighbor, and we are optimistic and excited about this project,” she said.
HomeGoods, a division of The TJX Companies Inc., which owns TJ Maxx and Marshalls department stores, plans to build a 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse/distribution center in Lordstown by 2020.
Right now, the plan includes seven parcels along Ellsworth Bailey Road. All the parcels are currently zoned residential.
The owners of two of the parcels HomeGoods plans to develop have submitted requests for zone changes from residential to industrial. The two parcels total about 174 acres of the 290-acre development. The current proposed site plan includes adding traffic lights on Ellsworth Bailey Road and realigning Hallock-Young Road, because the road runs right through the site.
A vote is not expected on the zoning changes at Monday’s meeting.
Regardless of whether the changes are accepted by the planning commission, they go to village council where it will take five votes to overturn a commission decision.