Story City council tables first reading of Love’s rezoning request

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

—by Todd Thorson

A public hearing was held in conjunction with the regular Story City council meeting on Monday, Sept. 15, concerning the rezoning request by Love’s Travel Stop in the I-35 Business Park east of the interstate. Several citizens were in attendance to voice their concerns about the truck stop, and mainly the traffic problems that could arise with the new facility. Representatives of the various business park tenants, including Indoshell Precision, M.H. Eby Manufacturing and NextEra Energy were also on hand.

Dave Finley of Indoshell spoke of his concerns about the traffic impact, particularly the pattern and flow the traffic would utilize on Eby Drive and Auestad Avenue. He also questioned what the truck stop would do to future development of the business park.

Adam Anderson of M.H. Eby also expressed his concerns about traffic. Plans call for the gravel road that leads to Eby to be removed, and Anderson is not in favor of that happening. Public safely was also a concern of his.

Steve Gunderson, representing NextEra Energy, agreed with Finley and Anderson’s comments about the traffic impact in the area.

Several citizens, including Kim Heckert, Michele Cook and Ann Balman, questioned how the truck stop would benefit the community. Heckert asked the council to be mindful and careful with this proposal. Both he and his wife, Lois, a former council member, were also concerned with the signage and light pollution that occurs with such a facility.

Cook had three concerns for the council to be aware of: the environmental impact, including noise and lights; social issues, such as possible crime, drugs, safety and prostitution problems; and the reality that this is really not a significant economic benefit to Story City.

Tony Hogan, the Story City Economic Development Corporation President, publicly stated he was opposed to a truck stop, but did say that Love’s is a very good company. He had concerns what 700 to 800 trucks per day would have on the business park and interstate exit area.

Other citizens present, who stated their opposition to the project, included John Koppes, also of Indoshell Precision, Dave Loupee, Ben Winecoff and Isaac Rahto.

After hearing everyone’s comments and concerns, Mayor Mike Jensen closed the public meeting. The council then deliberated on Ordinance No. 242’s first reading, which involves the changing of the official zoning map of the city by changing the district boundaries of Lots 1-6, Business Park Subdivision, Second Addition, from A-1 (Agriculture) to a PUD (Planned Unit Development).

Most of the council members stated they too had concerns about traffic patterns in the area if a Love’s Truck Stop were to be built. Both councilmembers Matt Triggs and Dwayne Fiihr said that the traffic impact needs to be addressed further if the project was to be considered for approval.

The Mayor and council then continued discussing the future impact of a truck stop on the development of the I-35 Business Park. The discussion ended with a unanimous vote by all five council members to table the first reading of Ordinance No. 242. Further discussions will undoubtedly continue at the next regular council meeting to be held on Monday, Oct. 7.