Following a six-hour public hearing over two days, the Statesville City Council approved the site plan for a new Love’s Truck Stop on March 23 by a 4-2 vote.
But under an agreement between all parties in the hearing, no work can begin on the project, which was originally proposed over two years ago, until an appeal in Superior Court is completed.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Johnson made the motion to approve the site plan. “Based on the testimony we have heard, I believe this site plan should be approved, subject to Love’s agreeing to improve road conditions in the area,” he said. Love’s officials said they were agreeable to the provision.
Councilmen Roy West and Keith Williams voted against the site plan. “The sticky point for me is that the site plan must be compatible with the nearby senior center and animal hospital,” West said, “but if Love’s is not forced to eliminate the 18 parking spaces next to the animal hospital, I don’t see how it could be compatible.”
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However, the remaining councilmen felt that the site plan was appropriate for that location. The council was comprised of only six members for the hearing because Councilman Michael Schlesinger was recused at Love’s request from participating in the hearing, and Councilman Jarrod Phifer was absent.
The proposed truck stop, at Interstate 40 Exit 154, would be similar to other Love’s facilities on major interstates, including parking for trucks and cars, a 24-hour fueling station and tire shop, showers for truck drivers and two restaurants: McDonald’s and a Chester’s Chicken.
Opponents of the proposal, mostly nearby residents and businesses, have continually cited the increased traffic such a facility would generate on nearby roadways as a major reason the city should have rejected the plan.
According to the city’s Planning Director David Currier, the site plan approved by the city council carries a number of modifications from the original plans, including:
▪ Adding several left turn lanes.
▪ Changing the signals at U.S. 64 and Old Mocksville Road.
▪ Changes to the westbound and eastbound ramps for I-40 on Old Mocksville Road.
▪ Changing the inside lane on northbound Old Mocksville Road into a dedicated left turn lane to I-40 westbound.
▪ Establish a right in only lane from southbound Old Mocksville Road to the truck stop for cars only.
The council will vote on the final wording of the site plan approval at its April 13 meeting.
The controversy over the proposed truck stop started in 2013, when the city’s Board of Adjustment, following several days of testimony, decided that a ruling by Planning Commissioner David Currier to allow truck stops as a use in the property’s zoning, known as B-4, was correct.
The decision became controversial because truck stops aren’t listed as an allowable use in any of the city’s zoning districts and many people who live near the site opposed the truck stop.
That ruling was reversed on technical grounds, and the Board of Adjustment conducted a new hearing in 2014, coming to the same conclusion. That decision was also appealed and is currently awaiting a hearing in Superior Court.
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.