More than 100 people jammed the Statesville City Council chambers Feb. 18, urging the board to reverse a decision allowing a new Love’s Truck Stop near the Interstate 40/Old Mocksville Road intersection.
Most of those in the group wore red to urge the council to stop the truck stop, they said.
Opponents say the truck stop would be too close to nearby homes and would cause problems with fumes, traffic and noise.
In addition to outlining their reasons for opposing the proposal, the group also announced they are appealing the city’s decision at a Board of Adjustment Meeting on March 5.
In an interview before the City Council meeting, several members of the group also said they are prepared to take the issue to Iredell County Superior Court if necessary.
The decision to allow the business was made by the city’s planning department, which ruled that a truck stop is a permitted use in Zoning District B4, even though it is not specifically listed as such in the city zoning codes.
City planners decided that, while a truck stop is not listed as an allowable use, the other uses proposed by Love’s, which includes a restaurant, fuel pumps and a convenience store, are allowed.
"The problem lies in the ambiguity of the city’s zoning ordinance" said Elizabeth Seibel-Ross, the first of nine speakers during the council’s public comments section. "Furthermore, the closure of the I-40 exit has made traffic much worse than before. There have to better options."
As part of an improvement project at the Interstate 77/I-40 interchange, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has closed an entrance and exit onto I-40 from U.S. 64, increasing traffic in the area where Love’s wants to build.
Later, Stacey Schlesinger, who lives in a nearby subdivision, presented a petition to the city, in the form of a loose-leaf notebook, containing 2,409 signatures of people opposed to the truck stop. "Our community leaders, both elected and appointed, have completely dropped the ball on this decision," she said.
Despite the impassioned pleas from the audience, however, there is no formal role for the City Council to play at this time. But if the planning department’s decision withstands the Board of Adjustment Review and any possible legal challenge, the council would then have a critical decision to make: whether to approve the site plan for the truck stop, a requirement before construction could begin.
None of the council members commented on the issue.
The proposed Love’s Truck Stop would be similar to their facilities found on major interstates such as Interstate 81 in Virginia: parking for 92 trucks and 80 cars, a 1,400-square-foot, 24-hour tire shop, showers for truck drivers and two restaurants: A McDonalds and a Chester’s Chicken.
An appeal before the city’s six member Board of Adjustment can be filed by any person who believes they are aggrieved by the outcome of a zoning or planning decision.
The meeting will take place noon March 5 at City Hall.
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at email@example.com.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less