A Love’s letter: Grand County Council asks company to cancel truck stop plan

By a 4-0 vote with three absences, the Grand County Council decided to send a letter to Love’s Travel Stops, asking them to back out of a plan to build a Love’s Travel Stop on Highway 191 in San Juan County, just south of the county line. Courtesy photo

A miscommunication led to a reporting error in a story published June 13 regarding a joint Grand County Council and San Juan County Commission meeting held June 10.

The Grand County Council did not send a letter to state officials regarding a plan to build a Love’s truck stop in Spanish Valley. Instead, four of the seven members in a special June 11 meeting voted to send a letter to a Love’s Travel Stop executive, taking the unprecedented action of opposing the corporation’s plan to build a truck stop in Spanish Valley at Sunny Acres Lane just across the San Juan County line.

“The letter you are reading is a first for us,” reads the letter signed by Vice Chair Terry Morse. “We regard one of our most important duties as a responsible council is to encourage businesses to augment what is offered here. But in the case of Love’s’ decision to create a large truck stop in the midst of a long-established residential area in Spanish Valley, we actively oppose it.”

The letter, addressed to Love’s Corporate Vice President of Real Estate and Development Rick Sheffield, implores the executive to reconsider building in the area: “As someone in the position of responsibility you hold at Love’s, you are no doubt familiar with the noise, fumes and night-sky-destroying light that a 53-bay diesel truck stop creates. The negative effects of Love’s’ location will be multiplied by its location in what is literally a valley.

“Love’s’ 13 acres will sit at the edge of several hundred homes, in some cases abutting the backyards of families who have lived here for over a quarter of a century. Not only will lifestyle and peace of mind be lost, property values will plummet,” the letter read.

The communication implied the corporation would reap “a fortune in great PR” if it backed out of the deal it is working with the Utah Schools and Industrial Trust Lands Administration, which owns the land in question.

A vocal number of Spanish Valley residents have opposed the plan, particularly those in close proximity. They have derided the plan as a commercial interest encroaching on a residential district, but SITLA Director Dave Ure at a June 10 joint meeting between the Grand County Council and San Juan County Commission said the opposite was true since the area is zoned commercial.

Critics argue that San Juan County has allowed residential development to occur in the area for more than two decades, and that it now is a de facto residential subdivision.

Morse and Grand County Council members Mary McGann, Jaylyn Hawks and Greg Halliday voted to send the letter. Chair Evan Clapper and members Curtis Wells and Rory Paxman were not in attendance June 11. A week earlier, however, the council declined sending SITLA a letter warning them – and Love’s – of plans to build a Highway 191 bypass that would detour truck traffic away from the proposed location for the truck stop.