Land conservancy and HomeGoods save 290 acres


story tease

Staff report

LORDSTOWN

The nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy recently worked with HomeGoods Inc. to conserve 132 acres of forest habitat on its 290-acre distribution center site on Ellsworth Bailey Road.

“This is a unique mitigation project due to HomeGoods’ voluntary placement of a conservation easement on significantly more land than was necessary by law,” said Alex Czayka, senior vice president of conservation transactions for the conservancy.

“As a result, it is the largest on-site mitigation easement held by Western Reserve Land Conservancy.”

HomeGoods, a division of The TJX Companies Inc., recently purchased the 290 acres and began tree cutting and excavating operations.

Following environmental mitigation guidance from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers, HomeGoods worked with the conservancy to develop a plan that will preserve streams and wetlands on the property, the conservancy said in a news release.

“We were pleased to work with HomeGoods to help satisfy their mitigation requirements and we applaud the company’s commitment to conservation and the local community,” Czayka said.

HomeGoods could have received regulatory approval by simply paying a stream and wetlands mitigation bank or by placing a conservation easement on approximately five to 10 acres of restored habitat on site, Czayka said. Instead, the company voluntarily conserved more land than necessary to permanently protect important forest habitat and create a buffer between the distribution center and a nearby residential neighborhood.

The conservancy has completed 26 mitigation easements in its history. The conservancy, which has its headquarters in the Cleveland area, preserves natural areas and working farms in 23 counties in northern and eastern Ohio. To date, it has permanently preserved more than 750 properties totaling more than 56,000 acres and has worked with municipalities to create more than 170 public parks and preserves.

It also led the efforts to create 55 county land banks across Ohio and planted more than 6,000 trees in Cleveland.

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