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Amazon Pittsburgh Warehouse Gets Local-Council Nod, Faces Resistance

Churchill Borough, east of Pittsburgh, on Tuesday conditionally approved Amazon's plan to set up a warehouse. Not all the residents are pleased.

Members of a local council near Pittsburgh voted to approve a plan to set up an Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report warehouse distribution center in the suburb, a move that a number of residents oppose, according to media reports.

The investor Ross Perot Jr.’s Dallas investment firm, Hillwood Development, has proposed to build a 2.6-million-square-foot (241,550 sq. m.) distribution and logistics facility for the Seattle-based tech and online-retail giant. 

The site is in Churchill Borough, a residential area of Allegheny County, Pa., 10 miles east of Pittsburgh, according to a local news report by Trib Total Media.

The site is surrounded by more than 400 homes and two schools, Pittsburgh's Action News 4 reported

Council President Jay Dworin told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "There are parts of this that will be disruptive and difficult if it moves forward; there are also real disruption and difficulties if it doesn't.”

"Residents have raised concerns about the environmental impact a warehouse of this size could have on the community already plagued with frequent air quality alerts and flooding," the Post-Gazette report noted.

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The Churchill Borough Council on Tuesday decided in a 5-2 vote to permit the start of construction of Amazon's delivery and packaging facility. The project is expected to create 1,000 to 1,500 local jobs. 

The vote followed a 14-day public hearing that included more than 55 hours of testimony, Trib Total reported.

To be sure, prior to construction, Hillwood also needs approval from Churchill's planning commission and needs to submit a land-development application.

Council members Adam McDowell and Norma Greco, who cast the opposing votes, said Hillwood hadn't made sufficient efforts to ensure environmental safeguards were maintained.

Some residents are already planning to appeal the council decision in court.

The council's conditional approval is based on provisions including one that prohibits Amazon from using its trucks on borough roads or traveling south on certain roads, local media reported.

Amazon operates more than 100 U.S. fulfillment centers. It pays its warehouse workers a starting average of $16 an hour, a Glassdoor survey shows.