A proposed truck stop near the I-5 interchange with Old Salem Road has caused a stir in Millersburg, where the city's planning commission is scheduled to take up the matter on Jan. 10.
The commission will consider a site plan for a Love's Travel Stop and Country Store, planned for a 12-acre site in an industrial zone where Old Salem Road bends eastward toward Interstate 5, just a few hundred feet from the south Jefferson interchange. According to the Nov. 11 application, Oklahoma City-based Love's was in the process of closing on the purchase of the property, previously occupied by Universal Timber Structures. Five buildings are to be demolished to make way for a Love's Country Store, fuel islands and parking lots.
Some Millersburg residents have expressed reservations about the project in postings on Facebook, where they organized a petition that had gathered 30 signatures as of Friday. They ask that the city deny approval of the site plan or delay action until an ordinance can be passed to prohibit this type of development.
Love's application, accompanied by a $1,000 fee, says the company would like to start building in the spring and complete the project by the end of the year. It says the business will be open around the clock, and up to 15-25 employees and 75 customers will be there at any one time. A traffic study done for the applicant projects peak-hour traffic as 432 vehicles.
The development is proposed at the north end of a long string of industrial and truck-related businesses on the east side of Old Salem Road. But comments on Facebook suggest that opponents fear a truck stop would detract from the family atmosphere of Millersburg's fast-growing residential neighborhoods. A couple of postings by one contributor allude to prostitution at truck stops elsewhere. Others cite crime reports from around the country.
City Administrator Barbara Castillo says the truck stop is an allowed use in the "limited industrial" zone that covers the site, and the planning commission can act on the plan without a public hearing. The city council will not get involved unless there's an appeal from whatever the commission decides.
In an email, Castillo added: "And although we legally only have to notify property owners within 100 feet of the property, we sent out notices in all of our water bills. Written testimony is allowed if we receive it by 3 p.m. on the 10th. We do have a small group of people that don’t want this in Millersburg. Almost everyone who comes in the office is in favor of it."
The planning commission meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Millersburg City Hall. (hh)