TJX opponents do not speak for majority

More than half the registered voters in the village of Lordstown turned out on Tuesday to cast ballots on the referendum issues that will allow zoning on seven parcels of land to change and to welcome construction of TJX’s distribution center. Of those who voted, more than 70 percent shouted “YES!”

That apparently isn’t enough for the naysayers whose petitions landed the issue on the ballot in the first place after Lordstown council approved the change. Instead, opponents of the zoning change and TJX’s planned development on Wednesday marched into Trumbull Common Pleas Court calling for a temporary restraining order.

If allowed to go through, the zoning change from residential to commercial on the 290 acres would translate into more than 1,000 new local jobs and a $170 million investment. That should be a joyous occasion for the village, the Mahoning Valley and TJX.

Instead, those calling themselves “Lordstown Concerned Residents” are now attempting to derail the voice of the democracy.

Their court action decries the Ohio law passed earlier this year to expedite the special election. The legislation had allowed the residents to have their say, but simply speeded up the action so as not to delay the business in making its final decision on location.

Isn’t it ironic that these opponents who consistently maintained they aren’t opposed to the project, but just to the location, waited until after their referendum attempt failed before filing their objection to the legislation that was signed into law more than two months ago on June 14?

This group has put up road block after road block, in likely attempts to drive TJX to throw up their hands and retreat from Lordstown.

The latest move only reinforces arguments made by supporters that the opponents, comprised mostly of residents who live in the area of the proposed zoning change and even council member Karen Jones, are simply unwilling to consider the greater good.

They have ignored TJX’s demonstrated strong willingness to invest wisely, to create natural buffers for the residents, to extend a cooperative hand to the local school district and, simply put, to be a good neighbor.

Rather, they have questioned TJX’s motives and argued that they know better where this national retail giant should build its distribution center.

Some opponents even have argued that zoning maps never should be changed. That is simply not true. It is impossible and unreasonable to assume that government leaders who approve zoning maps know what the future may hold. Shouldn’t we hope and pray that change and growth unfolds in the future? Zoning must be viewed as a breathing object that must be adaptable as new opportunities present themselves. Zoning maps are established only as a guideline.

The fact is, Lordstown’s future as an industrial location was established decades ago when GM moved here and when interstate highways were built that include exits and interchanges here.

We respect democracy. The voice of the residents has been shouted loud and clear. Now it is time for those who failed in their attempts to block the development to accept the outcome and look to the future and what this company hopes to bring.

In the meantime, we can only hope that TJX realizes by the strong voter turnout and overwhelming number of “yes” votes that this minority does not speak for the vast majority.