Breaker, breaker! P&Z denies truck stop site plan
Commissioner Dia Copeland’s motion to deny the preliminary site plan for a truck stop near Pecan Lakes Estates prompted cheers from the packed city council chamber following the Feb. 23 Navasota Planning and Zoning meeting.
The unanimous decision denying Maredia, Barkat & Rahim Momin’s plans for the Fly Away C-Store at 2643 Highway 105 West also denied their fee-in-lieu-of sidewalk application and payment of $28,080.
The 2.768-acre plat design called for regular gas and diesel pumps, a convenience store and four high-capacity pumps covered by a 100-foot-high canopy. On the south side adjacent to the developing Pecan Grove Subdivision, were 17 spaces for 18-wheeler parking.
Copeland stated the following reasons for denial: a truck stop is not conducive to The City’s comprehensive plan related to the residential subdivision in that quadrant of The City, Fairway Drive is not suitable for commercial traffic, the presence of high capacity gas pumps and elevated canopies, the potential for overnight parking as indicated by the additional parking places, lighting which could impact the Navasota Airport and neighboring residential area and noise pollution from the 18-wheelers.
Truck stop or convenience store?
Following Development Services Director Lupe Diosdado’s summary of the item, City Manager Jason Weeks clarified what defines a truck stop.
Weeks said, “One, does it have overnight truck parking? Based on the map here, there are several spots that are 18-feet long – so yes, it has truck parking. The other piece is does it have high capacity pumps? You’ll notice four stations there. Those are considered high capacity pumps which are a little bit different from those out front which may serve diesel. These are specifically for 18-wheelers.”
Weeks said the design did not include overnight showers but added, “The other piece is does it have a tall canopy…higher than normal over your pumps that allow 18-wheelers to come in. When they talk about whether it’s a truck stop or not a truck stop, I would bet as if it’s a duck. If it quacks, if it wobbles, it’s probably a duck. It’s a C-store with a truck stop component.”
Representing the developers, J4 Engineer Glen Jones said the choice of location was based on market analysis which studies traffic counts and rooftops and provides data on what is needed to make a profit.
Referring to a development trend, Jones called it the “convenience store of today,” and said, “It’s going to be a mix from now on.“
Jones continued, “There is a demand here for this product. This is a $4 million commercial project. It’s not taken lightly by the developer but economics say this is the where the store needs to be in order to be successful.”
Begging for crime
Twelve residents provided comment. While not opposed to a neighborhood-type convenience store and gas station, they were opposed to the design as presented.
Realtor Nancy Perry suggested the owner consider using the parking slots at the back of the property for “snow birds” and their RVs.
Pecan Lakes Estates developer Jim Hassell warned that despite two other driveways on SH 105 West, the 18-wheelers would use Fairway Drive to access the parking.
Hassell said, “That drawing tells me that all of those trucks will be coming in on Fairway Drive, It’s going to be extremely dangerous! Those trucks will block that turn and the traffic on Fairway Drive is not going to have a chance. I’m dead set against a truck stop coming to that corner!”
Several residents, former truck drivers, warned of an increase in prostitution, drugs, human trafficking and noise pollution from refrigerated trucks.
Bonnie Davis said approval would be “begging for crime” and Chelsie Garcia cautioned about the negative effect on potential homebuyers. Charles Moody suggested Fairway Drive be zoned for allowable load limits.
Comp plan to get early update
Also discussed was the upcoming work this summer by TxDOT related to the SH 105 West turn lane at Pecan Lakes Estates and the urgent need to update the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The 10-year plan was created during 2013-2014 to guide the City’s development from 2015-2025.
Weeks said, “The Plan is a living document which means it changes. The landscape based on what was in the Comp Plan is not what you have out by the airport now. That is not what was predicted to go out there, that huge residential subdivision, so as we start making decisions collectively, we have to remember that type of thing. The City is working through the grant process to obtain grant funding of around $300,000 to update our Comp Plan. Even though it lasts until 2025, we believe we need to change and update that comp plan.”
The meeting may be viewed in its entirety at https://www.navasotatx.gov/planning-zoning-commission.