Appeals court sets conditions for new Flying J in Warren County, Ohio

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 12/1/2014

An appeals court has approved a set of conditions under which Pilot Travel Centers can build a new, $9 million Flying J truck stop at the intersection of Interstate 71 and Ohio State Route 123 in Warren County, Ohio.

The Court of Appeals for the 12th Appellate District of Ohio ruled Monday, Nov. 24, that it has affirmed nearly all of the special conditions placed on the truck stop by the Warren County Board of County Commissioners, with a few exceptions.

Pilot and the owner of the 10.5-acre property at the southeast quadrant of the intersection filed a joint zoning application in September 2012 to build the new Flying J, complete with a marketplace deli, Wendy’s drive-through restaurant, 12 automobile fueling pumps, eight diesel fuel lanes and overnight parking for trucks and RVs.

The Warren County Board of County Commissioners held two public hearings in November 2012 and January 2013 before voting 2-1 in February to approve the truck stop as long as Pilot met certain conditions.

Shortly after the approval, Daniel Alesi of Lebanon, Ohio, and 77 other residents filed a lawsuit to stop the development of the truck stop. Members of the plaintiff group claimed during the public hearings and lawsuit testimony that a new truck stop would lead to increased pollution, noise, traffic and crime. Some testified that a truck stop would attract prostitution to the area.

The Warren County Court of Common Pleas ruled to affirm the project but modified some of the conditions set by the county commissioners.

Pilot contested some of the conditions such as a landscaping buffer, the electrification of all truck and RV parking spots, and a demand by the county commissioners that Pilot perform a new traffic study.

The resident plaintiffs filed an appeal against the project, but the 12th Appellate District Court tossed their appeal from testimony, saying they failed to present unique arguments that the truck stop would personally harm them.

Pilot argued during the appeal process that it agreed to some electrification but not for the entire parking lot for trucks and RVs. Upon review of prior testimony, the appeals court ruled that yes, Pilot did tell the county commission it would electrify all of the truck and RV parking spaces and that it must do so for the project to continue.

The appeals court also said Pilot must complete a landscaped buffer to soften its appearance from the busy interstate. But the appeals court tossed the county commission’s call for a new traffic study, saying it was not needed. Click here to read the appeals court ruling.

No word yet on when Pilot will break ground on the project.

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