Love’s Truck Stop controversy heats up
—by Todd Thorson
As if the general election isn’t heating things up enough, the controversy surrounding the proposed Love’s Truck Stop development east of the interstate in Story City continues to escalate. The Story City council is currently in the process of re-zoning the proposed property from agriculture (A-1) to a planned unit development (PUD) site, and after two readings of Ordinance #242 the council has given its approval at the last two council meetings on a 5-0 vote (Oct. 6) and a 4-1 vote (Oct. 20).
The first reading vote, originally scheduled for Sept. 15, was tabled by the council after a dozen or more citizens showed up for the initial public hearing prior to the ordinance’s reading. Most, if not all, were in attendance to show their disapproval of the proposed truck stop.
Following that initial meeting, a larger contingent of residents, including representatives of the I-35 Business Park companies, appeared at the October 6 council meeting to voice their concerns. Most in attendance were opposed to the truck stop project moving forward, siting mainly traffic flow issues, but mentioning other potential problems as well, such as drugs, prostitution, light pollution and employment concerns. After a lengthy discussion at the October 6 meeting, the council passed the first reading by a 5-0 vote.
Following the October 6 meeting, citizens and residents began banding together, gathering support for their opposition to the project. An on-line petition was set up (which currently has approximately 150 signees) and members of the opposition even began a door-to-door canvass last weekend. There are supposedly over 200 signatures by residents that are against the project moving forward, with plans to present the signatures to the council to help in their quest to gain support for opposing this project.
Meanwhile, Love’s representatives continued to address some of the traffic and other concerns presented by the public and the I-35 Business Park community. They were also keeping members of the council and the Economic Development Corporation abreast of the project. The EDC group has also shown concerns about the project throughout the timeline, but has basically remained neutral throughout the negotiating process.
The October 20th council meeting held last week was moved to the Community Center because of the large crowd that was expected. Over 75 people attended the meeting, and this time there were residents and business community representatives present both for the project as well as against it. A lengthy discussion ensued, with everybody willing to speak given the chance to voice their concerns and opinions. Following the public input, the council passed the second reading of the ordinance by a 4-1 vote. Council member Valeree Muhlenburg was the lone Nay vote, having changed her vote from the previous reading on October 6.
The citizens and residents in opposition to the truck stop are not backing down, and continue to lobby for support throughout the community. Channel 8 News was contacted by the group and a news segment appeared over the weekend. Petition signing will continue and the discussions will rage on until the next council meeting, which is scheduled for this Monday, November 3, at the Community Center. The third and final reading of the re-zoning ordinance will be on the agenda. If it passes, Love’s is planning to have site plans and specs in place for council approval by the end of the year, or the first part of 2015. Love’s hopes to start construction in the spring and open for business by the end of 2015.