Opposing group collects signatures

Those against zoning changes rent room in Lordstown village hall

LORDSTOWN — The group opposing the zoning changes needed for the proposed TJX HomeGoods distribution center has rented the community room inside village hall to collect signatures for a referendum vote.

Opponents need to collect at least 124 valid signatures from registered voters in Lordstown for each of the seven pieces of property council voted to change to industrial from residential to make way for the 1.2 million-square-foot center on Ellsworth Bailey Road.

The group will be collecting signatures from 3 to 7 p.m. today.

“As I understand it, they plan to obtain as many signatures as they can while at the administration building,” said Councilwoman Karen Jones, who voted against the changes. “Those that want to sign the petitions that do not sign them at the administration building can contact them individually.”

The referendum initiatives would seek to reverse a 3-2 vote taken in June by council on 290-acres of land. If enough valid signatures are collected, the vote would be Aug. 21.

Opponents have until July 21 to collect the signatures. The petitions will first be turned over to officials in Lordstown and then to the Trumbull County Board of Elections. After the petitions are turned over to the elections board, employees there will make sure all of the signatures belong to Lordstown residents who are registered voters and their addresses and other information is accurate.

The $170 million distribution center would be for TJX’s HomeGoods brand of discount home furnishings. The center, once it’s fully operational, would employ about 1,000 workers and have an annual payroll of $27 million to $30 million.

Zoning change opponents said they fear the loss of home values and the increased congestion that placing more industry in a residential area would bring. They say there are other parts of Lordstown already zoned for industry that would serve just as well.