Van Horn gets another truck stop
By Gilda Morales
City Council met in regular session last Tuesday and heard a lengthy presentation from Ross Shaver, senior project manager for Pilot Travel Centers, on a proposal to build a new Xpress Fuel Center in Van Horn. According to Mr. Shaver, the concept in this new center is that it is geared more toward the small fleet and driver/owners instead of large trucking corporations who have daily hauls instead of long-haul truckers. The first of its kind was built in Clint, Texas with many more to follow.
The site for the local Xpress Fuel Center will be at the old Conoco location in far east Van Horn next to Mountain View RV Park and could potentially add more than 130 more slots for truck parking, helping to reduce trucks parking in non-parking areas. The design and location also provide easy-off-easy-on for truckers and will prevent the congestion seen frequently in other local truck stops.
Mr. Shaver told Council that Pilot would pay to extend water and sewer lines, boring under I-10 to the proposed location, including hydrants, driveways and curbs, at a cost of more than $500,000, and then essentially give the lines and improvements to the City. Shaver also shared the figures from an economic impact study and how the City, County and State would benefit from the Fuel Center. Conservative estimates include $52,000 in sales tax, $63,846 in property tax, $194,000 in County taxes, and Texas would see an increase of 1.7 million.
Estimated construction cost for the facility is around 10 million dollars. The project would also provide 45 to 55 new jobs to the area with good salaries and benefits for full-time and part-time employees.
In return for the investment by Pilot Express, LLC, and Krupalu, Inc., the Town of Van Horn would have to approve four conditions:
- -Annexation and extending the city limits east of Van Horn to include 14.934 acres located at the southwest corner of I-10 and Ross Drive, Exit 140-B
- -Approve a services and development agreement between Pilot Express LLC, Krupalu, Inc., and the Town of Van Horn
- -Change the zoning of the site to B-1 (approved at a previous Zoning board meeting)
- -Approve Ordinance No. 22-02-434 which amends the current zoning ordinance related to off-street parking requirements for truck stops
After his presentation, Mr. Shaver informed Council that for the City to receive all the benefits of the new project, they would have to approve ALL of the four conditions. He added that if the Council failed to do so, the project would still proceed with the project without the City’s blessing since the site is located on County property.
Before voting on the proposals, Council heard from Shawn Burchard, who owns land adjacent to the proposed project. Mr. Burchard voiced concerns that trucks would be trespassing on his property, but Mr. Shaver reassured him that his company would be taking every possible measure to prevent any trespassing and said that his company wanted to “be a good neighbor,” diffusing Mr. Burchard’s concerns.
Given the “take it or leave it” proposal by Mr. Shaver, Council unanimously voted to accept all four conditions required by Pilot Express, and effectively gave the green light to the project which could break ground in May with a tentative completion date of 135-160 days.
On other agenda items, Council voted to:
Pay $11,000, as the cost of putting in 10 more taps at the duplexes being built by Bill Story
Approve a contract with KFOX to continue promoting tourism in Van Horn
Change the date of Council meetings from the 2nd and last Tuesday of the month to the 2nd and last Monday of the month at the request of Alderman Rene Mendoza
Adopt a resolution designating a planning service provider for the 2021 Texas Community Development Block Grant Planning and Capacity Building Fund application and project implementation, with Grant Works getting the nod
Transfer the Utility Clerk, Grace Marta from City Hall to the Utilities Department
Order the 2022 Elections, appoint election judges and early voting clerks, establish pay rates and review new laws, and review any preclearance for the election.