Trucking facilities tend to leave a sizable footprint in the communities where they operate. Their construction and expansion can become a flashpoint and set off local political battles.
Love’s Travel Stops is facing some of that opposition in its attempt to build a truck stop in Glendale, Arizona, on what had been farmland. More than halfway across the country, Old Dominion Freight is trying to build a new terminal in Youngstown, Ohio, where it already has one. There, the company appears likely to receive tax breaks to support its efforts.
The opponents don’t always win. Consider the case about 18 months ago of a new Pilot J travel center in the Los Angeles region, with the prospect of almost 200 new parking spots. It ultimately was approved.
In the case of Love’s in Glendale, a spokesman for the city said, “Some neighbors in the area have raised concerns. The city has provided opportunities for them to voice concerns at council meetings, public hearings and a neighborhood meeting.”
In a news report about the dispute carried by KNXV, the local ABC affiliate in Phoenix, a resident named CJ Unzen said of those opposed to the Love’s facility that the group is worried about potential crime, safety issues and diesel fumes.
“We’re not against the trucking industry, we’re not against truckers and we’re not even against truck stops,” she said. “We just do not believe that this is the right location — we do not believe that they should be near any neighborhoods.”
The area where the former farmland is targeted for the travel center had been in an unincorporated section near Glendale. But it has since been annexed by the city.
The story also said city planning staff had made a presentation on the project late last year, identifying the travel center as being in line with current uses in the area, which is near a major highway, Loop 303, which links Interstate 10 west of Phoenix with north-south Interstate 17. “City staff cited the growing number of warehouses and industrial buildings built or planned for the area near where the travel center would be built,” the news report said.
There is no other truck stop in Glendale. A spokesman for Love’s in the story published by KNXV said if the Love’s was built, it would be the 13th in the state for the chain.
In response to an email from FreightWaves, a Love’s spokeswoman said the company did not yet know how many parking spaces would be part of the project.
The spokeswoman also confirmed comments in the KNXV story from Love’s spokesman Chad Previch, who was quoted as saying that the city has worked with a traffic engineer on a study that is being reviewed by Glendale and the state. He also said Love’s would take up 10-12 acres of the site.
In Ohio, Old Dominion Freight Line wants to build a second terminal in Warren County in the northwest portion of that state. According to a story in the Tribune Chronicle, the LTL carrier is seeking a property tax break on the site, which would be built in Lordstown.
The local newspaper said approval for the tax request “seems likely.”
Although the project is slated at $6 million, the size of the tax bill can’t be known yet. But the Tribune Chronicle estimated it would be about $27,500 per year compared to the levy if there was no break offered.
Lordstown is the location of a shuttered GM plant that was bought late last year by Lordstown Motors, which has plans to build battery-powered pickup trucks at the site. GM, however, is planning on building a battery plant in Lordstown and the planned ODFL site is adjacent to that, according to the Tribune Chronicle.
In an email to FreightWaves, a spokesperson for ODFL said the property had been purchased by the company with plans to build a 59-door, 30,400 square foot facility. The company has a facility nearby in Girard, but that is only 25 doors.
“Our operations have outgrown the facility in Girard as our customer base has grown,” the spokesperson wrote. “To provide the level of customer service and response time we promise our customers, OD needs to expand.”
The spokesperson added that the company had originally asked Lordstown for a 60% abatement in its tax bill for 10 years. The request was later reduced to 40%. (The local newspaper reported the 60% request but not the shift to a 40% cut).
The request still needs to be approved by the Lordstown Village Council.