LaPorte mayor: Pilot Flying J withdraws plan to build truck stop

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 1/23/2014

Plans to build a truck stop in La Porte, Texas, are on hold after the mayor there says the truck stop chain withdrew its application just hours before a public meeting was scheduled on the issue. The applicant, Pilot Flying J, declined to comment.

La Porte Mayor Louis R. Rigby told Land Line on Jan. 17 a day after the public meeting, that he wasn’t sure why the applicant decided to withdraw its application for a special conditional use permit to build the 11,000 square-foot truck stop, which would have included 51 truck parking spaces.

“The city manager and I had a conversation yesterday afternoon. He said they had originally asked that it be postponed until later, for another month, to get more information. Then (they) called back and said to disregard that; we are withdrawing the application,” Rigby said.

He added that the owner of the property has called the city manager in La Porte “asking for a meeting to discuss what type of development would go in there that would not get the reaction that this one has gotten.”

Truck drivers from around the country were quick to call and email La Porte city officials after a staff report prepared for the public meeting stated that building a truck stop “designed to service a transient population” may not be the best use of property for sale in La Porte.”

Prior to the public meeting, John Zemanek, At-Large Position A Councilman in La Porte, also told one local media outlet, Around La Porte, that “studies have shown that truck stops are notorious for drug trafficking and also prostitution.”

In the same article, he also said that “while I am unable to stop trucks from driving through my city, I would like to think that I could affect them from stopping other than at their destinations.”

Tim Tietjens, director of planning for the city of La Porte, confirmed on Wednesday that the application had been withdrawn prior to the planning and zoning meeting.

“In such circumstances, they do have the right to resubmit a project, whether or not it is this development, in the future with another application,” Tietjens told Land Line.

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