“In my opinion, this is a very unusual kind of scenario,” Pfeuffer told the board. “I’ve never seen a zoning requirement and specific prohibition found in the [truck stop] definition.”
The Love’s would be built in the 4000 block of I-35 in a vacant lot that backs up to the Oak Creek Estates neighborhood. Board Chair Susie Barrett asked Peck and Pfeuffer to demonstrate a hardship that justifies the variance. A city zoning ordinance states there must be conditions that “would deprive the applicant of the reasonable use of the land.”
During public comments, several residents of Oak Creek described the negative effect they believed the project would have on home values, quality of life, public health and safety. Other arguments suggested that the land could be utilized in any number of alternatives.
“Placing a truck stop in the proximity of our neighborhood, it’s going to create all these issues for the community members,” Oak Creek homeowner Monica Silva said during the meeting. “We don’t believe that there is a hardship because the applicant has over 225 uses for this land.”
Peck said that Love’s would potentially provide as many as 60 hourly employees and another five salaried positions. Pfeuffer argued that it would be the only southbound truck stop where a truck could get in and out of the lot from the interstate without having to pass through an intersection.
“This location would be the best location of any of the facilities in our area,” Pfeuffer told the board. “I would ask you to look at how that could actually improve the scenario for the neighborhood.”
While the project had merits from a business sense, it failed to convince the zoning board of a valid hardship that would justify the variance. Board member Brandon Mund was the lone vote in support of the truck stop, albeit with requirements such as on-site security and a concrete wall between the neighborhood and the business.
Victorious, the opposition to the truck stop briefly celebrated in City Hall’s lobby, while the truck stop’s team adjourned to a meeting room. Residents agreed the project team would likely make another attempt after the zoning board’s mandated six-month waiting period after a denial.