At its final meeting of the year on Tuesday, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors will revisit one of the most contentious issues the board faced in 2012: a 19-acre truck stop proposed for the town of Dunnigan that would produce more than $400,000 in annual revenue for the county but is opposed by many residents of Dunnigan itself.
Located at Interstate 5 and County Road 6, the proposed Love’s Travel Center would include two fast-food restaurants, a convenience market, a tire-installation facility, 24 fuel pumps and 120 parking spaces for trucks. In addition to employing 25 to 50 people, the center also would generate an estimated $427,000 annually for the county, making it one of Yolo’s top 25 sales tax generators.
But many residents of the small town of Dunnigan — population 1,500 — oppose locating a large truck stop at the County Road 6 exit.
Residents say that location is the gateway to Dunnigan and is intended for community development, including a new elementary school.
Back when the board first took up the issue in March, dozens of residents packed the Board of Supervisors chambers to voice their opposition to the project. Nearly 180 residents signed a petition opposing the project and the Dunnigan Advisory Committee, Pierce Joint Unified School District and Dunnigan Fire Protection District all weighed in against the truck stop.
“Who would ever think of putting a (truck stop) in a residential area?” asked longtime resident Willard Ingraham. “This is a negative impact on our community.”
Many said they supported bringing Love’s to Dunnigan, but urged that it be located about a mile down the freeway at County Road 8, which already has truck services.
“We are not saying, ‘Not in our back yard,’ ” advisory committee chairman Neil Busch said.
“But (we’re) saying put it in the right location with the other truck services. Placing a truck stop in the middle of the town center undermines all future plans for the surrounding areas.”
A representative of Love’s, however, told supervisors the County Road 8 location would not work.
“There’s a lot involved in site selection,” Kim Van Dyke said. “Visibility, good truck traffic, good car traffic… there were numerous issues that compounded to say it’s not going to work out.”
Noting that Love’s operates more than 280 travel centers in 39 states, Van Dyke added, “We have a good handle on our business and what we need.”
After more than two hours of public comment in March, the board sided with residents in a 4-1 vote, with Supervisor Jim Provenza of Davis the only supervisor voting in favor of the truck stop.
Provenza cited the significant revenue the county would gain from the project, saying, “that … is real money. That’s the primary reason I would like to see Love’s come to our county.”
Supervisor Duane Chamberlain, in whose district Dunnigan lies, said he, too, supported bringing Love’s to Yolo County, but he urged the company to reconsider the location, saying, “It’s obvious that the overwhelming majority of people (don’t want it there). That’s why I can’t vote for it.”
Following that meeting, supervisors requested that county staff continue to work with Love’s to try to find a solution that would bring a truck stop to Yolo County. Working with landowners and Caltrans, staff determined there are sites available on both the north and south sides of County Road 8 for a travel center, but Love’s continued to insist that County Road 6 is the only option it is interested in and, failing that, it will focus its efforts on Colusa County instead.
Thus the proposal returning to the supervisors on Tuesday is the same as the one they turned down back in March. And Dunnigan residents are expected to turn out en masse once more to speak out against the plan.
“We believe that the timing of this is to get the project approved without a public outcry during the holiday season when people are busy with the seasonal activities,” Dunnigan resident Deanna Kirkland said in an email to The Enterprise.
However, she said, a large contingent representing Dunnigan will be present.
The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors’ chambers at the County Administration Building, 625 Court St. in Woodland.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy