The Herald Bulletin

May 16, 2013

Love note: Nothing to hate about truck stop

Company seeks to disarm public resistance

By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin

INGALLS, Ind. — A detailed presentation by Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores executives about the company’s truck stop plans at Interstate 69 and Indiana 13 Thursday night seemed to calm some — but not all — of the concerns Summerlake residents have about the project.

About 75 residents of the housing addition who attended the meeting at Grandview Church of the Brethren adjacent to their homes came armed with questions.

Before the question-and-answer session began, however, several company representatives detailed the company’s plans for the truck stop, discussing everything from security measures, to environmental protections, to screening that will be built to alleviate noise.

One point that the company’s attorney, Brian J. Tuohy, underscored as he outlined the history of the property:

Summerlake housing addition was always just one piece of a larger planned unit development called Summerbrook that was approved by Madison County planning officials in 2000. As part of that original plan, commercial and industrial development was always envisioned immediately adjacent to the interstate.

Since then, Ingalls annexed the property, adopting the original zoning as its own.

The only surprise, Tuohy said, is that the housing addition was completely built out before any other development arrived.

On 18 acres, Love’s officials plan to build a facility that will comprise about 10,000 square feet of selling space.

Included in the $9 million project will be a gas station and convenience store, truck wash, parking for large trucks, a tire repair barn, a McDonald’s restaurant and a Chester Chicken restaurant.

Love’s proposed a meeting with the community after two emotional gatherings before the Ingalls Area Plan Commission last month.

“I know there are a lot of questions about safety,” Love’s Manager of Development Frank Ille said. “One thing I want to make clear is that you are over one-third of a mile away from the store. That’s not right next door.”

He said the company has built other stores much closer to residential neighborhoods, and there’s no history of Love’s customers or truck drivers intruding in residential neighborhoods.

In addition, he said Love’s uses constant video surveillance of its properties.

“Love’s strives to be a good environmental steward,” said Michael Key, director of environmental services, as he outlined sophisticated devices and procedures.

That has been a particular concern of critics worried about the truck stop’s proximity to Thorpe Creek, which feeds Geist Reservoir.

Like Stu Hirsch on Facebook and follow him @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.