It seemed like a good idea at the time.
That sentence is often uttered with a shaking of the head and a recollection of a hasty decision that has gone terribly wrong.
Ingalls town officials should be mindful of avoiding such remorse when it comes to the question of whether a 24-hour Loves Travel Shop & Country Stores truck stop should be built at Exit 214 off Interstate 69.
More than 100 residents of the nearby Summerlake housing development showed up at a Monday evening meeting of the Ingalls Advisory Plan Commission to protest plans for the $6 million truck stop at the interchange of I-69 and Indiana 13. It takes a lot to get that many people to show up at any government meeting and, as you might guess, they were up in arms about the truck stop.
They told the commission that they don’t want the noise, traffic and environmental hazards that can be associated with truck stops. They also worried that the truck stop might attract itinerant and unsavory characters.
About 3,000 people live in Summerlakes, which includes about 850 homes. These people should have a loud voice in a small community, and commission members and other town officials should heed what they have to say.
Ingalls is changing and a truck stop at that location could be beneficial, but there might be better uses for the property. As development continues to move northward along the interstate, the property is likely to increase in value. And perhaps it could be the location for retail, commercial or office space that would bring more jobs and have a greater positive impact on the local tax base.
On Monday evening, the plan commission tabled its discussion, which will be continued at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at town hall.
What Ingalls really needs is a living, long-term plan for land use that is updated frequently and gives the community a guide for growth. If such a plan does exist, officials should consult it to advise their decisions in specific cases like this one.
Without a long-term land-use plan, locals are often left months or years down the road muttering to themselves that it seemed like a good idea at the time.