UPDATE | WRPA OKs incentives for HomeGoods project

1:18 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — It's been a pivotal day for the HomeGoods Distribution Center project in Lordstown.

On top of an approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Western Reserve Port Authority approved an incentive to HomeGoods Inc. today for construction of its distribution center on Hallock Young Road in Lordstown.

That incentive will save the company the cost of sales taxes on construction materials.

The port authority is meeting in the DeBartolo Stadium Club inside Stambaugh Stadium at Youngstown State University.

The incentive approved 7-0 was for a capital lease, a tool available to the port authority under Ohio law in which its Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority takes temporary ownership of the property, eliminating the cost to HomeGoods of sales taxes on construction materials.

It's a tool the port authority has used for many projects in recent years as a way to attract investment in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

The most recent one before this was for Trailstar International, a Mahoning County trailer manufacturer, for construction of a $9.3 million, 66,300-square-foot manufacturing facility expansion at its state Route 62 facilities.

12:58 p.m.

LORDSTOWN — The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency today gave water-quality approval to the HomeGoods Distribution Center project, one of the final approvals the company needs before scheduling a groundbreaking next month.

State Sen. Sean O'Brien of Bazetta, D-32nd, received the announcement today from the OEPA of the Section 401 Water Quality Water Certification.

O'Brien said another approval is needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the Army Corps generally follows the recommendation of the OEPA.

"We can see the finish line. With the EPA approval and hopefully the Army Corps, we believe this project will be completed, and just in time when you think of what's going on with GM Lordstown," O'Brien said.

In a news release announcing the approval, the OEPA said the Water Quality Certification is a required component of an application with the Army Corps that would allow the discharge of dredged or fill material into streams and wetlands during the construction phase of the project.

Discharges from the project will impact wetlands and degrade the water quality of streams within the Duck Creek watershed. TJX Companies will offset these impacts with the restoration and enhancement of two streams adjacent to the property, the purchase of stream and wetland mitigation credits in other areas, and the preservation of 130 acres of forested woodland adjacent to the development.

The agency considered all comments submitted by the public before deciding to issue the approval, the OEPA said. The primary comments received during the public notification period were related to long term protection of the preserved areas. The conservation easement associated with this project has been reviewed by the OEPA and tailored to ensure long-term protection for the property, the press release says.

Issuance of certification can be appealed to the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission. Appeals generally must be filed within 30 days of issuing a final action.