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Landowners oppose Love’s request

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm

The owners of land near the Love’s truck stop in Carmel Church oppose plans by the company to add a tire repair shop.

Alan Shaia, whose family owns 250 acres nearby, wrote a letter to the Caroline County Planning Commission expressing objections to the Love’s plans. He asked the commission to deny a permit that Love’s is seeking or to defer a decision pending a traffic study.

The Planning Commission voted 4-0 at a regular meeting in November to defer action on the request by Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, which is seeking a special exception permit to add a tire repair shop at its business at 23845 Rogers Clark Blvd. (Route 207). Commissioners had concern about traffic congestion caused by trucks entering the business and the potential for it to increase with the addition of the proposed tire repair shop.

The business is located on the south side of Rogers Clark Blvd. Cars traveling east on Rogers Clark Blvd. may turn right onto reconfigured Route 652 (Loop Road) and access the business. However, trucks are not permitted to make the turn; they must continue to the intersection with Rogers Clark Bld., near the entrance to McKesson, turn right onto Loop Road and follow it to Love’s.

Love’s has just over 5 acres, and trucks sometimes are backed up entering the business and must wait for one another as they maneuver to refuel or park on the site.

The proposed tire repair shop would consist of a 20-foot by 70-foot enclosed area and a covered lean-to structure.

The issue for the owners of the nearby Caroline Commerce Center property, which extends westward to the new McKesson distribution center and contains 200 acres of undeveloped land, is Route 652, explained Shaia.

When the state Department of Transportation relocated Route 652, it did not consider future traffic needs, noted Shaia, so it was built close to VDOT minimum standards.

However, when county officials agreed to rezone the Caroline Commerce Center land last year, they required the owners to do any additional roadwork necessary to Loop Road as part of new development on the land. In addition, the roadwork will have to comply with VDOT’s level C standards.

“We believe that a new traffic study should be required along with this (Love’s) proposal and include specifically the intersection of Routes 207 and 652,” wrote Shaia in a Jan. 3 letter. “If the county is going to burden (the owners of Caroline Commerce Center) with maintaining Route 652 at ‘C’ level service to VDOT standards for any additional Caroline Commerce Center development, it is in all fairness that any other business using this road should be held to the same standards.”

He asked the commission to deny Love’s request or defer it pending a traffic study that shows no potential impact to Loop Road. In addition, Love’s should provide the same proffer that was required of the owners of Caroline Commerce Center, he added.

At the commission’s November meeting, a nearby, competing business opposed the Love’s permit request. Greg Bouldin, manager of the Patriot Farms restaurant and Flying J truck stop, which is located on the other side of Rogers Clark Blvd., noted the grouping of travel-related businesses near the Interstate 95 interchange in Carmel Church and said they are generating pedestrian traffic across Route 207.

Some motorists walk back and forth across the highway between businesses, which eventually will lead to accidents involving pedestrians, Bouldin suggested. Adding a tire repair shop at Love’s would “create an even greater hazard,” he told the panel during a public hearing on Love’s request.