State asks court to dismiss TJX injunction request

Staff report


Two business days before a judge is scheduled to hear final arguments on whether to approve or deny a permanent injunction regarding the proposed Home Goods distribution center project in Lordstown, the Ohio attorney general has asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

The filing Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court asks Judge Peter Kontos to dismiss the complaint on the grounds it fails to show violations of the Ohio Constitution and because the complaint has been rendered moot.

The lawsuit challenges House Bill 292, which Gov. John Kasich signed into law in June.

H.B. 292 expedited the referendum process that opponents of the rezoning initiated in an effort to overturn the 3-2 rezoning decision of Lordstown Village Council for the multimillion-dollar warehouse project.

The filing says the lawsuit and other filings failed to show that H.B. 292 violates clauses of the Ohio Constitution requiring a law to address a single subject and be applied uniformly. The complaint is also moot because the new law expired last Saturday, Friday’s filing says.

The attorney general’s office says a law can include multiple topics as long it has a “common purpose.” The unifying element of H.B. 292 is the section referring to generating and spending revenue. One part of H.B. 292 that relates to the TJX project is that the project will generate at least $50 million of investment in the village, which is revenue generation.

“Stated differently, a village can only use Section 12 [of H.B. 292] when it has determined that rezoning will generate revenue for the village,” the new filing says.

The injunction hearing is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday.

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