09-18-19 Love's WEB only

A Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores advertisement for its Wamsutter location sits off Foothill Boulevard in Rock Springs. On Tuesday morning, the Sweetwater County Commission unanimously approved a conditional-use permit to allow construction of a Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store west of Green River.

By Lisa Romero

GREEN RIVER — The Sweetwater County Commission unanimously approved a conditional-use permit Tuesday morning to allow construction of a Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store west of Green River.

The travel center/truck stop will be located by the Covered Wagon Road exit off Interstate 80 and will include a gas station, convenience store, fast-food restaurant and tire shop. Project plans include 85 passenger vehicle parking stalls, four recreational vehicle parking stalls and 100 truck parking stalls.

Construction will probably begin around April 2020 and should take about seven to eight months to complete, according to Kym Van Dyke, real estate manager for Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. He said the restaurant will likely be either an Arby’s or Carl’s Jr.

The Planning and Zoning Commission hosted a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 11, and voted 4-0 to recommend approval of the conditional-use permit with certain conditions such as plans for roadway improvement, drainage, landscaping and a covered dumpster in a fenced area.

While the travel center has support from commissioners and others, not everyone is in favor of the project. Earlier in 2019, a petition with more than 50 signatures in opposition to the plan was presented to Planning and Zoning. Public comments submitted have expressed concerns about air quality, noise, traffic congestion, inadequate roads, I-80 ramp lengths, river contamination, negative effects on existing businesses, sewage, improper trash disposal and crime.

Many public comments submitted in favor of the project refer to potential economic benefits.

STUDIES

Love’s permit application included the results of technical studies done on traffic impact, air quality and the length of nearby I-80 ramps.

A traffic impact analysis was prepared for the site and approved by the Wyoming Department of Transportation. Needed road improvements were included as conditions of the permit. With the improvements, the study found that the travel center would not create undue traffic congestion.

Another study analyzed the I-80 on and off ramps located nearby and determined that the existing ramps have sufficient acceleration and deceleration length. Results from the air quality study were forwarded to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Jeff Wendt, a DEQ official, agreed with the report’s assessment that the emission created from the proposed truck stop would be insignificant and within National Air Quality Standards.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

People spoke both for and against the conditional-use permit during the public hearing at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

Commission Chairman Wally Johnson spoke in favor of the conditional-use permit for Love’s. He said the commission needs to promote quality development in Sweetwater County, and this project does that. He also said it could alleviate congestion problems at the intersection near Flying J in Rock Springs.

Jamestown resident Dallas Koons voiced opposition to the project. He showed commissioners a poster with photos of litter at the Love’s Travel Stop near Wamsutter. He also said that the ramp analysis was done on dry roads and would not apply to winter conditions frequently experienced in the area. Koons also expressed concerns about noise to the Rocket-Miner.

“It’s a nice, quiet area, and we would like to see it stay that way,” he said.

Another Jamestown resident, Kael Jasperson, spoke in favor of the proposal. He is on the {span}Jamestown Rio Vista Water & Sewer District Board and said a waterline was built to that area for just such a purpose. He said the travel center will stimulate economic growth in surrounding areas and will bring in mid-level jobs as well as sales and property tax revenues. {/span}

{span}Van Dyke spoke at Tuesday’s meeting on behalf of Love’s. He said it is a growing, family-owned company. He said the new travel center could employ between 40-60 people, and that Love’s offers competitive pay and profit sharing for managers.{/span}

{span}He addressed concerns about trash by saying that the company doesn’t dump trash but will work to clean it up. He added that a fence would help with garbage problems caused by wind. {/span}

PERMIT CONDITIONS

Conditions that Love’s must meet for the conditional-use permit include:

— Obtain all required permits from WYDOT for access onto WY 374 and submit roadway improvement plans.

— Submit the associated lighting analysis and traffic management plan for interstate closures for WYDOT review and approval.

— Submit a certified drainage plan prepared by a Wyoming licensed engineer.

— Submit a landscaping plan with the Sweetwater County Construction permit.

— Submit a spill prevention certified containment plan (SPCC).

— Install all required Sweetwater County/WYDOT roadway improvements prior to the issuance of an occupancy permit, and obtain any permits associated with improvement.

— Cover all trash/garbage dumpsters and maintain them within a solid fenced area.

— Love’s plans to use an onsite septic system. If the system is not approved by WDEQ, Love’s must connect to the Green River sewer system.

— Implement all recommendations outlined in the July 2019 traffic impact analysis.

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