SITLA: Love’s truck stop ‘pretty much a done deal’

Plans to bring a Love’s truck stop to Spanish Valley are in their final stages.
Courtesy photo

A representative from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration said plans to sell land just south of the border between Grand and San Juan counties to the Love’s corporation for a truck stop was “pretty much a done deal.”

Bryan Torgerson, the SITLA representative at the meeting, shared the news in response to a question from a resident about whether anything could be done at that point to prevent the Love’s from going in.

The deal has not yet been formally finalized, and according to Love’s spokesperson Tara Carr, groundbreaking on the new truck stop is more than a year out.

In response to residents expressing dissatisfaction with the plans, San Juan County Planning Commission Chair Trent Schafer emphasized that it would be legal to put the Love’s truck stop in its planned location whether it was done before or after passage of the proposed zoning plan.

The approximate address of the property where the truck stop would go is 4861-4863 US-191. It is just north of the Dixie 4 Wheel Drive and Winnco Firearms.

The parcel is currently designated as part of San Juan’s highway commercial zone, which allows for many types of developments. New ordinances recently passed by the planning commission and pending approval from the San Juan County Commission would still allow for such development on that property.

Alternative locations

Upon hearing that the plan was essentially finalized, residents asked Torgerson whether the Love’s could be planned for a different location “away from residents,” as one person put it.

“We talked to Love’s about moving to lots of different locations,” Torgerson said. “They have a very strict business model. They had to be on a certain side of the road; they’re looking for distances from certain things, and they were very, very adamant about that specific location.”

Residents pressed Torgerson, asking about the feasibility of putting the Love’s in locations such as La Sal Junction or Monticello.

“We talked about La Sal Junction,” Torgerson said. “We talked about Monticello. We talked about Crescent Junction. We talked about places in Wellington. We looked at lots of different areas.”

Mitigating impacts

During the meeting, residents outlined concerns on a range of topics related to the Love’s development. Residents highlighted fears that crime and human trafficking would go up once the truck stop was developed, said that light and sound pollution would result from its operations, and joked about assumptions that prostitution would take place on the property.

Torgerson said that feedback from residents about their concerns with the Love’s development would help improve outcomes.

“We appreciate these comments because it’s going to make the plan a lot better,” Torgerson said in response to comments about light pollution, the community’s dissatisfaction with SITLA selling to Love’s, and other matters.

Mark Vlasic of Landmark Design, which created the proposed land use and dark sky ordinances under contract with San Juan County, said that setbacks and other buffering strategies would be employed to mitigate impacts to neighbors of the future truck stop, but some residents said they felt the proposals were insufficient.