The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration said that its upcoming contract with Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores will include design restrictions including dark skies lighting and a sound barrier separating the development from nearby homes.
SITLA also said in its announcement that Love’s and SITLA will hold a public meeting next week to answer questions about the upcoming project. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 9 at the Grand Water and Sewer Service Agency, located at 3025 Spanish Trail Road.
SITLA said Love’s Real Estate Manager Kym Van Dyke will attend the meeting.
“Love’s Travel Stops wants to not only accommodate professional truck drivers traveling along Highway 191, but also motorists and local residents, too,” Van Dyke said in a statement on Monday, April 29. “In addition to gas sales, we plan to incorporate a restaurant, convenience store, and a small grocery section for local residents.”
SITLA said in its announcement that public input informed the decision to include the requirements of the Love’s development and outlined some of the design requirements.
“As a condition of the purchase contract, SITLA and Love’s Travel Stops will incorporate dark skies lighting, a large sound barrier to the north, and some height restrictions to the project,” said Elise Erler, SITLA’s deputy assistant development director.
SITLA also said in its statement that, as a result of the sale to Love’s, the state land trust would deposit about $1.3 million in sales revenue into its $2.5 billion Permanent School Fund. The fund provides more than $80 million in annual interest income to K-12 school in Utah.
Public officials respond to opposition
Read additional statements from SITLA’s Bryan Torgerson about truck driver “stereotyping.”
The Love’s travel stop has been a contentious point of discussion at recent San Juan County public meetings. The topic was reiterated by Spanish Valley residents who attended a San Juan planning and zoning commission meeting on April 3.
Residents at the meeting expressed opposition and frustration to the development. This week, San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams expressed a more positive sentiment toward the development
“Lately, I have really been listening a lot to my constituents in that end of my district,” said Adams, whose voting district includes Spanish Valley. “I appreciate that Love’s has agreed to these types of development conditions, especially when the current ordinances are so outdated they don’t require these design restrictions.”
Adams said that he believes many local residents will use the Love’s Travel Stop conveniences there on a weekly basis, especially at busier times in Moab. San Juan County Administrator Kelly Pehrson also spoke positively of the incoming Love’s travel stop.
“In addition to the economic benefits to the county, Love’s Travel Stops has a solid reputation of creating a clean and friendly environment for each of its stores,” Pehrson said. “Love’s does its very best to blend and assimilate into the local community.”
Alleviating overnight congestion
Highway 191 is a major trucking route that is likely to see more development in the future. The Utah Department of Transportation is developing plans for a bypass that would reroute traffic away from Moab’s Main Street, making for more efficient trips for truckers and drivers passing through Moab.
Grand County and Moab officials, including Grand County Council Member Rory Paxman said that, for now, the Love’s would help alleviate congestion along Main Street and 191 in and around Moab.
“It isn’t uncommon to see semi-trucks parked all over the place and on both sides of the roads,” Paxman said. “I think it would be good to have a place where drivers can go for what they need without having to stop in the congested Moab area.” Paxman made it clear he was speaking for himself and not on behalf of the council.