STATESVILLE Residents and business owners concerned about fumes, traffic and noise are fighting plans for a 24-hour Loves Travel Stop & Country Store along Interstate 40 near a longtime animal hospital, an Alzheimers care facility and scores of homes.
Dr. Michael Schlesinger, a Statesville urologist who lives in a nearby subdivision, said he fears for the safety of his children playing outside. Schlesinger said hes counted about 200 homes in a mile radius of the 14-acre site, which is less than a mile east of the I-40/I-77 interchange thats undergoing a five-year, $89 million transformation.
We are not against truckers or truck stops, Schlesinger told Statesville Planning Department staff in a meeting at City Hall last week. But put it in an area thats already industrialized.
Residents requested the meeting to learn why city planners concluded that the sites zoning allows a truck stop to operate there.
Assistant Planning Director Sherry Ashley said the site is bordered on three sides by main thoroughfares Interstate 40, U.S. 64 and Old Mocksville Road making it suitable for such a project. She said the project is consistent with the citys Land Development Plan.
Truck stops arent listed as an allowable use in any of the citys zoning districts. City planners concluded that a truck stop is allowed at the site because all of the other uses proposed by Loves including a restaurant, gas pumps and convenience store are allowed under the lands zoning, Ashley told the residents.
Its not just a truck stop, she said. Given all of the other proposed uses, its for everybody, she said.
Loves site plan includes parking for 92 trucks and 80 cars, a 1,400-square-foot, 24-hour tire shop, shower facilities, an 11,000-square-foot convenience store, a McDonalds drive-through restaurant and a Chesters Chicken Restaurant.
Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh said at a recent city council meeting that the companys site plan would have to first be approved by the council and that it could be considered at a meeting in March.
Based in Oklahoma City, Okla., Loves operates nearly 300 locations and 150 Loves Truck Tire Care centers in 39 states. Loves is ranked No. 7 on Forbes annual list of the largest U.S. private companies.
We build modern, very clean facilities, Loves communications manager Kyla Turner said. They are bright, well lit, safe.
The center will employ at least 60 people, she said.
Ashley, the assistant planning director, said Loves plans road improvements, such as a third traffic lane near its site and a signal. Such assurances didnt appease the residents, however.
These trucks will create a tremendous amount of pollution sitting and idling all the time, resident David Fussell said.
This is going into a residential area, Schlesinger told Ashley. This is a public nuisance. An excessive amount of trucks idling.
Veterinarian Chip Cooneys Animal Hospital of Statesville on U.S. 64 faces a field where 18-wheelers will park. When Ashley assured him that Loves will provide additional screening, Cooney replied, Im still going to be affected by the noise.
Ashley said residents can appeal the city planners decision to allow truck stops as a use in the propertys zoning district. If the appeal before the citys Board of Adjustment fails, residents could appeal in Iredell County Superior Court, she said.