Legislative amendment would speed up TJX referendum vote
By Jordyn Grzelewski
A legislative amendment approved by the Ohio Senate Wednesday could prevent a delay in the proposed TJX Lordstown project.
An amendment to House Bill 292 would push up a referendum vote on the project site’s zoning from November to August, according to state Sen. Sean O’Brien of Bazetta, D-32nd, who helped secure the inclusion of the amendment.
“This amendment gives the people of Lordstown the ability to vote to approve the Lordstown TJX project if they choose to do so,” O’Brien said. “All the amendment does is speed up the process so that if there is a vote in support of TJX, the project will move forward in an expedited manner.”
Elected officials have said the possible delay of the project’s start until a November vote was a concern for the company, which briefly backed away from the Lordstown proposal due to outcry from some residents. The company is now moving forward with its proposal to build a $160-million, 1.2- million-square-foot HomeGoods distribution center on a 290-acre site on Ellsworth-Bailey Road.
The process outlined in the legislative amendment is temporary and “will narrowly apply to the Lordstown situation,” according to a news release from O’Brien.
“This amendment will protect the local election process, and it was important that we were able to get this done before summer recess,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien thanked Lords-town officials, state Rep. Glenn Holmes of McDonald, D-63rd, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and the Trumbull County Board of Elections.
“The TJX HomeGoods site in Lordstown will bring much needed jobs and economic development to our community,” he said.
TJX has said it expects the project to bring 1,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $27 million.
O’Brien’s office noted the distribution center could be up and running by 2020.
In other developments this week, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 1.404 percent, 10-year Job Creation Tax Credit for the project, which has an estimated value of $3,525,000.
Also, village officials said TJX planned to seek a 75 percent, 10-year tax abatement, and the company offered a $500,000 donation to Lordstown schools for a new athletic building and school security upgrades.
The village planning and zoning commission has approved rezoning the project site from residential to industrial, but the change must still get approval from village council.
The village will have a public hearing on the matter at 11 a.m. June 16.