Judge upholds vote on Lordstown's TJX zoning - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Judge upholds vote on Lordstown's TJX zoning

Updated:
LORDSTOWN, Ohio -

Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos has refused to issue a permanent injunction sought by Lordstown property owners to block construction of a TJX Home Goods distribution center in the village that supporters say will create hundreds of jobs.

Twenty four property owners challenged as unconstitutional a house bill that allowed Lordstown village council to approve zone changes for the TJX project and to move up a special election on the issue.

The village argued that opponents waited too long to file their legal challenge, saying they should have acted when council voted for the zone changes. Instead, they filed petitions for a referendum. 

The village also contends that the plaintiffs failed to show how they would suffer irreparable harm from the project, only offering speculation about noise, traffic, and flooding.

Homeowners say that there is no guarantee that TJX will follow through on commitments to address those concerns, including a more than 100-acre conservation buffer zone.

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said he believes those commitments were made in good faith and that they will be included in the final site plan. 

In his opinion Judge Kontos wrote:

...the Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden and have not demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that House Bill 292 is unconstitutional under either the single-subject or uniformity clauses of the Ohio Constitution.

Moreover, the Plaintiff's claims are moot and there is no justiciable controversy requiring a declaratory judgment challenged sections of H.B. 292 are no longer in effect.

Thus, Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate they are entitled to any relief.  

Valley Congressman Tim Ryan applauded the ruling on Thursday, saying, "After many months of meetings, debates, campaigns, and litigation it is finally time to get construction underway. This new facility will be a huge victory for Lordstown and our entire community. So many people in this community have worked together to make sure this project became reality, and today, that effort has come yet another step closer to reality. This is what’s best for Northeast Ohio." 

Trumbull County Commissioners also responded to the ruling calling it another "critical step". 

In a statement, the Commissioners said, "TJX has remained patient and demonstrated their level of commitment to the Village of Lordstown and Trumbull County throughout this process."

The court ruling can be seen here:

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