Despite emotional pleas from Litchfield Park and Waddell residents, Glendale City Council voted 6-1 June 23 for a rezoning that allows for a Love’s truck stop.
Cotton Properties, 160 acres on Cotton Lane between Glendale Avenue and Bethany Home Road, was annexed in January. Council approved rezoning it from agricultural use to planned area development.
The planned area development zoning will be split between commercial and industrial uses. It includes a proposed Love’s Travel Center at Bethany Home Road and Loop 303.
Although the vote was strictly on the rezoning, neighbors of the property emotionally opposed the Love’s Travel Center that would be able to be built in the area near Waddell and Litchfield Park.
But two people gave their support for the proposed truck stop.
In a letter to Councilwoman Lauren Tolmachoff, Tom Bradley, president and CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association, said, “Truckers are an essential business. They deserve a place to rest and resupply.”
He came to speak in person as well and explained that if there isn’t a truck stop available, truckers will just find another place nearby to park, which could mean they are parked in the neighborhoods.
Dressed in red, several dozen Litchfield Park and Waddell residents waited and watched the meeting in an adjoining room. (Due to social distancing guidelines, attendance at the meeting was restricted.)
Seventeen community members came forward to speak against the truck stop.
Waddell resident Barry Coscavage said, “The problem I’ve really got with the Love’s truck stop is I used to do auto repossessions and repossessions of trucks. Nine out of 10 of those truck stops we went to, the first thing that greeted us was the hookers, the drug dealers and then, of course, we got to witness the thieves.
“We don’t need that out there in that neighborhood.”
Other Waddell residents expressed immense concern for their safety among these possible crimes, as they explained that they do not have a police force or fire station readily available should a problem occur.
Some of the speakers had relationships with truck drivers, but they still did not support the location of the new truck stop.
“As a family member of truck drivers, I have one that was brutally beaten, barely survived,” Waddell resident Judy Meyer said. “He’s on permanent disability. He’s a truck driver that got beat at a truck stop. I don’t want that near my neighborhood.”
Litchfield Park resident Russ Thompson also did not support the truck stop’s location despite his connections to truck drivers.
“I run a trucking company. It is based in Glendale, and I am pro-trucker,” he said. “I’m on the Arizona Trucking Association, and I sit on the board with Tony. But I will tell you, this is a bad spot for a truck stop.”
On top of these people who came forward, more than 40 citizens did not wish to speak but submitted written comments stating they were opposed.
Despite the concerns presented by the citizens, the applicant for rezoning William Lally said, “There are eight stipulations in front of you tonight that address almost every single issue that was brought up here tonight.”
Councilman Ray Malnar was not convinced.
“I have some real concerns, however, about the Love’s truck stop. I really am not in favor of a truck stop at this location,” he said.
Malnar, the lone vote against the rezoning, said he did due diligence to check everything out.
“I’ve driven their neighborhood. I’ve driven the area. I went out to some of the truck stops in other areas, in particular Buckeye. I spoke with residents,” he said. “I happen to be visiting someone who lives out in Buckeye and asked them. They live about 3 miles away from the truck stop. They weren’t impressed with what goes on at that Love’s truck stop there.”
Malnar felt that the rezoning was good, but he did not want a truck stop built at that location. He did suggest a possible stipulation that says a commercial truck stop can’t be built in the area; however, it was not added.
Councilwoman Joyce Clark addressed the resident concerns of teenagers loitering around the truck stop. She said, “I don’t think it is related to what the building is so much as what they are able to do at that site, and quite frankly, they’re going to be allowed to do less at that Love’s truck stop than they are at my local gas station.”
Other council members felt that although the residents have legitimate concerns, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the commercial rezoning and a possible truck stop is now in the making.
“Development occurs around a freeway,” Tolmachoff said. “The trucks are there whether there is a truck stop or not. The trucks are there with all of this industrial (development).”
Mayor Jerry Weiers agreed with Tolmachoff that the trucks would be around. He explained that he used to be a truck driver, and with all of the industrial development, the trucks would be coming no matter what.
“If you don’t have a place like that,” he said, “they will be looking in your areas to park. I promise you that.”
Councilman Bart Turner explained that he also sees a demand for a truck stop in the area and said, “We’re not going to find better sites than this.”
Council members Jamie Aldama and Ian Hugh joined the majority vote to pass the rezoning without comment.
The rezoning motion passed. No timeline was provided for the proposed Love’s truck stop.