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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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12/3/2012 10:14:00 PM
Supervisors green-light Ash Fork truck stop
Scott Orr/The Daily Courier
Pilot Travel Center Project Manager Ross Shaver addresses the Board of Supervisors in front of a packed house at Monday morning’s meeting.
Scott Orr/The Daily Courier
Pilot Travel Center Project Manager Ross Shaver addresses the Board of Supervisors in front of a packed house at Monday morning’s meeting.
Scott Orr
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors on Monday overruled the county Planning and Zoning Commission, voting 3-0 to change zoning in an Ash Fork neighborhood to allow a controversial Pilot Travel Center to be built on the east end of town.

Two uniformed Sheriff deputies watched over the capacity crowd, but did not have to take any action.

The proposed Travel Center would have parking for up to 100 big rigs, a store, restaurant, fueling pumps for both trucks and cars, and a scale for trucks.

The land, on Park Avenue, was once the location of Ted's Truck Stop, which shut down in late 2000. It is on the east end of town, and abuts land with homes as well as some commercially zoned land.

P & Z last month voted 4-3 to recommend the board deny the zoning change on the parcel from residential to commercial.

Two complaints that came out of that meeting were the use of a vinyl fence to separate the facility from nearby homes and the proximity to those same homes of a row of big-rig parking slots.

Fewer than 10 people, for and against, spoke at the November meeting, a far cry from the 25 who spoke and 20 others who submitted written opinions to the board members Monday.

The board also was given a petition signed by 188 Ash Fork residents who support the project.

Ross Shaver, Pilot's project manager, made a presentation in which he addressed complaints made by residents at the P & Z meeting. Among them:

• Big rig parking would be moved away from the homes to minimize disturbing the residents, "We decided in order to start out on the right foot, to be a good neighbor, we'd go ahead and move that parking to eliminate any noise or light concerns," Shaver said.

• A large lighted sign was moved further from the homes.

• The fence separating the truck stop from the homes would now be a 10-foot precast masonry wall.

Shaver then explained the economic benefits the company is claiming, including tax revenue to the county anticipated to be $185,000 a year. He said Pilot plans to hire 48 workers locally, at wages from $8 an hour to $13 an hour, and, if they could find qualified managers in the area, they would not need to bring in management. Shaver said they also offer health benefits to both full- and part-time employees.

The majority of people who spoke to the board were in favor of the plan. Many mentioned how bad the Ash Fork economy has been, and how scarce jobs are.

Ten citizens were opposed, including Fred Fernow, who said the truck stop would be "in (his) front door."

He said he'd lived in the house for nearly 60 years and objected to the smell that he claimed would come with the truck stop and the loss of the view from his front porch.

Resident Dee Brown said, "We all know Ash Fork needs jobs, but not at this location."

She said there were "lots of other locations to build, not on top of residential property."

But J.D. Fox argued that he didn't believe "a few people should have the... ability to deny this station that would benefit thousands of people. The few should just move on," he said. "If you don't like it, just go."

Board Chairman Tom Thurman said he had been to the area to have a look, and felt that the wall would block all the truck activity without interfering with the view.

"The shame is that the community is split so much on it," said Supervisor Chip Davis, noting that the property is currently "an eyesore."

Supervisor Carol Springer agreed. She said the site was Ash Fork's "front door," and "Anytime you put something new and shiny at your front door, it's going to be attractive to a lot of people."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, December 06, 2012
Article comment by: Transient Business Transient Town

poor Ash Fork- the Community Development once again cheated this little town out of a good future. It would have been nice to see a Safeway.maybe a nice little bank, a barber shop beauty shop maybe some office spaces
that some of the local people could rent for more businesses this is how you develop a town not by putting in one business that the majority of the customers will go in fuel up get a sandwich and leave very few will be going to be going into town. It will be basically the same as before when Ted's was here. Still a transient town!

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: So many uninformed people here

Businesses in Ash Fork? There are four gas stations (three have c-stores) and only two owned by people that live in Ash Fork (or Yavapai County for that matter). There are a handful of rock yards, a bar, two dilapidated hotels and a restaurant that seats about 20. Oh, and there is a Dollar General coming soon - or so the sign by the old Truck Stop restaurant says. Ash Fork is not really a mecca of business and this truck stop promises to bring jobs to town. Sure, maybe Murphy's Chevron will be knocked out of business but I doubt it. The town supports four gas stations as it is. People that use Chevron use it because of their Chevron Card -- same with Shell Card holders. If someone were to do an economic impact study, I'll bet it would say that more people will stop in Ash Fork than currently do and that all the businesses will continue to exist. I know the Corral won't go away - they have a niche market that Pilot won't be able to take away from them. The fact is now semi's will be able to fuel in Ash Fork which means more commerce and more money in town. And, because it's conveniently located, it will attract more people in passenger cars off the freeway into Ash Fork driving more people into the town. The neighborhood that is complaining has only a half dozen houses and those houses never complained when Ted's Truck Stop was still running on the same site and they haven't been complaining loudly about the idling trucks that currently use the parking lot as a sleeping spot. This truck stop is exactly the thing Ash Fork needs to restart it's economy.

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Ahhh. The sound of uninformed People commenting on things

"Yes, I-40 runs parallel to Ash Fork but the homes are far enough away you don't hear the highway noise like you will hear and smell the trucks when their engines are within feet of your home."

Several of those homes - the ones that are actually inhabited -- share a property line with I-40 and are not, as you say "far enough away" to not hear the Interstate less than 100 feet away.

Do you live in Ash Fork? Do you know this property and neighborhood? I don't think you do because you wouldn't have made that statement -- you would know that the neighborhood in question is literally borders I-40. In fact, the trucks in the parking lot will be further away from the houses than the Interstate is. If you don't live in the town, at least use Google Maps Street View to see the neighborhood in question before you make statements not backed up with facts.

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: the wino

What a great asset to ASH FORK,AZ.
The many times that I have pasted thru-- your GHOST-TOWN--I wondered why the town fore-fathers DROPPED the BALL?
DUNBAR Quarry was a huge EMPLOYER back in the day!
STOP-- giving --up!
a fine old "cowboy town" needs to come back to life,again.
THIS TRUCK STOP is your answer.

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Ahh....the sound of roaring diesal engines 24/7!

Ahhh.....the sound of roaring diesal engines and the odor of burning diesal fuel 24/7. Why would anyone living near that be against it? Yes, I-40 runs parallel to Ash Fork but the homes are far enough away you don't hear the highway noise like you will hear and smell the trucks when their engines are within feet of your home. AND then there are the locally owned businesses having to compete with a corporate giant and facing the potential of being put out of business. Yes, the town needs jobs. But it needs jobs that don't compete with existing jobs. Who will go out of business first? Will the town become a ghost town except for the truck stop? Here we have the perfect storm. What a success. I feel very sorry for the local business owners and the folks that live in the town of Ash Fork. The greed of others will ruin their lives. It's always sad when those that are completely unaffected by the downside of a situation get to decide for those that stand to get hurt. If the truck stop must be built at least build on property far away from the homes.

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Lets just get this out there

Let's just put some facts out on the table for the public. Obviously some of the commenters do not live in Ash Fork and do not know the area.

This was the site of a truck stop that was operational for many decades and only closed in December 2000.

There are a total of seven (7) homes that abut the proposed site of the truck stop. Some of these homes are in really rough shape and probably need to be condemned. One is missing a roof, two others are boarded up.

These homes are all less than 1/4 mile from Interstate 40, sandwiched in between Old Route 66 and I-40. There is no sound wall, so these homes get the full force of the Interstate truck and car noise. These homes are also within 1/2 mile of a very active spur of the BNSF line to Phoenix. These homes all existed in their location when Ted's Truck Stop was active. Trucks still park in the old parking lot -- and idle all night long when they do.

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Just say no to NIMBY's

The location in question is just a few feet away from a very busy interstate and a rail line. Truck noise is constant on the freeway and add to that the train noise -- so why the complaints about trucks idling? Is that the only complaint a few people can come up with? Seriously, all of these home owners that complained live within a few hundred feet of one of the nations busiest Interstates -- and have the audacity to complain that there will be truck noise? Wow!

In rebuttal to Lynn Murphy, Ash Fork once was a train stop - which is not much different than a truck stop -- except there is less noise at a truck stop than a train depot. As technology improves the things needed to maintain that technology also changes. The fact here is that the site was once truck stop and is still very much a truck stop. I can't drive past the place on any given day and not see a dozen or more big trucks parked by the restaurant Some idling, some not. To reiterate again, that parking lot is just a few feet away from I-40.

And in response to Tired of it All: Those trucks will come in the same way they did when Ted's was a thriving truck stop.

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Reliable Redundancy

Build It! Then when Life Line Ambulance crews have to move up to Ash Fork and post there at 3 am, they will have a place to get a hot cup of coffee and some junk food!

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: ashforkdan az

The fact that you own a service station on the other side of town is the real fact that your prices are unreasonably high.With the competition coming to town you would lose half your business,Is that what bothers you?Usually housing moves in on top of dairy farms and then are forced to move because of people like you that don't want them there.The tables have turned and you don't like it.Well the people that used to use the short cut to the gas line to access their property didn't care much about when you cut them off with your eye sore.How is it any different than putting back the truck stop that was there before any different?

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Flahbahgastid in Yavapai

Nothing says success and prosperity like a truck stop. I am shocked that the county supervisors overturned P & Z over the objections of the abutters to the property, the people who will truly be affected. Maybe next the county supervisors will allow a nice pig farm out there in N. Ashfork, Close to the highway, couple hundred thousand in taxes, some low paying jobs, maybe even a discount on bacon and ribs. Who cares about the stench won't be able to smell it from my house, and if those that have lived their for years don,t like it, well they can move.

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Article comment by: Lynn Murphy

Fact is: Ash Fork Dan this little neighbor hood was here for many many years before Teds truck stop and Interstate 40 and you.
As kids my brother and sisters and I would ride our horses, hike, explore and learn to drive all over these little county roads.......when the federal government wants to expand there is nothing we can do... but when a billion dollar corporation comes in and bullies 80 year old people for the sake of their own personal financial gain its shameful. I'm sure if you were in the same situation you would do the same thing...this isn't a question of whether or not a truck stop should come to town....we all know there is a need for more development here and jobs there is nothing wrong with that...but there is something really wrong when you do it at the expense of peoples lives...no normal person wants a truck stop on their lap! These people love their homes they don't want to just move..like so many that come and go around here. The biggest shame in this whole thing is that their longtime so called friends sold them out for a bright and shiny truck stop... that should not define our town or any other town

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: ashforkdan az

sounds to me like we have a few liberals living outside of Ashfork that want to make the decisions for the people who live here.Fact it was a truck stop before and there weren't any complaints back then.Like they say if you don't like it then move.

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Haunted House Employee

"...and how scare jobs are." -- Good point, Courier, I know all about scare jobs!

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Vincent

I give praise to God AND those who have served and died to protect the process we enjoy, to engage in thoughtful debate, to freely express our thoughts and opinions, and elect professionals to referee our disputes and come to a decision that benefits the most people possible. We all will enjoy the $3 million+ tax dollars generated. If you disagree, try to live the next week without touching one thing that came to you by a "Big Rig"!!!

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Greg Sullivan

Very Exciting! I am currently a manager for this company. It is a great company. Although a big company, it is still very much a "family" operated company. They care, not just for themselves. They care about the people that work for them, as well as the people around them! Theyre always looking for new and innovative ways to improve business. We thrive everyday to be the best in the business when it comes to customer service and thrive to take care of our neighbors too. I too, can attest that our locations are Clean, Well-lit, and we thrive to make them secure in every way possible!

I am excited to see the transformation of the abandoned property, that I have been to many times from childhood to now. I use to eat breakfast at Ted's with my family, back when it was in its "prime". Now I will get to see an abandoned eyesore disappear and watch a fading town be reborn!

I am excited for the town of Ashfork and Im excited for Pilot as well. I think its a great investment and over time, everyone will benefit!

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Dan G.

Points in Favor:
Coconinio has a stop (Williams
Mohave has a stop (10 mi E of Kingman)
Both gain revenue from these.

Would give truckers an alternate between the two. Those stops are 100 miles apart. Several trucking accidents every year are from drivers going to sleep

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Smart truckstop

Maybe Pilot could build a state of the art ( no engine idle ) truck stop , like other companies have been doing for the last 10 yrs or so ?

A control panel and system that fits in the truck window that allows the heating / cooling flexible line and electrical systems to be run from the panel, giving the trucker all the comfort they could want without choking the neighbors ? With all the Wind farm building that is going on close by across the county line and ones proposed , there is no reason why PILOT shouldnt consider this as an option of diesel engines that idle all night and day .

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Oh Carol

"Anytime you put something new and shiny at your front door, it's going to be attractive to a lot of people."

Since when is a truck stop attractive?

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Dan Coman

Why would anyone that lives next to a interstate have a problem with noise?The fact that it was a truck stop before shouldn't have been an issue of rezoning in the first place.Competition to the local business's seems to be the problem.A restaurant that can only hold five or six tables is not a restaurant.The fact that fuel prices would be lower for local residents than the high prices that we pay for now,should be the issue.I would like to see them put in a real hotel and a grocery store so we wouldn't have to travel 50 miles to avoid the high prices of Williams. This is a nobrainer for the town of Ashfork and the fact that a very small portion of people that want to stop it shows that they need to get a life.

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: tired of it all

So the county sold it's soul for $185K a year...awesome. Some questions! Since Park Ave. (and Lewis Ave) are one way only, from what direction will these "big rigs" be coming from? And how nice of the county to say the trucks would park away from the homes! Up there, in the quiet, you would have to park a truck a mile away to not hear it! And what's with the Sheriff Deputies "not having to take any action"?! If someone disagreed to strongly were they going to beat them in front of everyone to make them comply? Wake up folks and get rid of the current county commisioners, they sound like they have someone in there back pocket.

Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Article comment by: Just Thinking

When people living closest to a property object to a zoning change, it should not be changed.

After we purchase knowing we are surrounded by residential property, that security should not be stolen away from the people. Or the Truck Stop Company should have to buy up the homes!

Not one of the supervisors would want all these trucks and pollution in their back yard and they should have been aware of it.

The trucks never turn off their engine and the hum from the motors will be heard day and night.

Maybe these people could still block it with a good fight on the quality of air left behind from all of the big rigs.

Funny how just after the elections these so-called supervisors voted for big business.

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