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Station location adds fuel to worries

Boardman residents question trustees over Meijer proposal

By ASHLEY FOX

Staff writer

BOARDMAN — Boardman Township trustees heard from residents Monday regarding a proposal to rezone land that would allow for a gas station.

Zoning board members, during a zoning commission meeting Jan. 21, had denied Meijer’s proposal for a gas station near the Lockwood Boulevard and Tippecanoe Road intersection.

Meijer applied to change the two parcels, one of which is a rental property zoned for business, and the other residential, to commercial for the proposed gas station.

The company anticipates investing about $20 million to build a 159,000-square-foot store on U.S. Route 224, which will employ about 250 people. Construction is expected to begin this year, with the store opening in 2021, and Meijer wants to include fuel in its new venture.

John Chupa, a resident near the proposed gas station site, which is near the intersection of Lockwood Boulevard and Tippecanoe Road, asked the trustees to “shed some light” on the possible zoning change. Chupa also asked trustees which way they “are leaning” regarding approval for the proposed gas station.

Trustee Tom Costello explained that legally speaking, the trustees are not allowed to have an opinion. “Legally, we cannot have a position until we actually hear the case,” Costello said, adding that officials have received calls from residents.

Trustee Larry Moliterno added that “when and if there’s a hearing” for the zoning change at the trustees’ level, a public notice will be given in advance giving residents the opportunity to voice their concerns or opinions.

Main access for the gas station was shown to be off Lockwood Boulevard and Tippecanoe Road, she said, with the gas station on the west side of Lockwood.

Krista Beniston, zoning and development director, explained that in order for the application for a zoning change to be filed, the property owners must provide permission.

In this case, Meijer provided purchase agreements from the two property owners. “The homeowners have to agree,” Beniston said.

The property owners has to approve the application, she added.

Also discussed at the meeting was the unanimous passing of lowering the speed limit from 35 mph to 25 mph on Applewood Boulevard.

Boardman police Chief Todd Werth said that during a study, speed in that area was generally between 35 mph and 43 mph. By lowering the speed limit 10 mph, the new average should also decrease.

New signage is anticipated to be installed sometime next week.

Officials also updated that grant opportunities have been sought regarding the flood-plagued Cranberry Run area.

Trustee Brad Calhoun encouraged residents to reach out to state Rep. Don Manning, R-New Middletown, and state Sen. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, to add local flooding areas to their capital budget allotments.