The fate of a controversial proposed travel hub off Interstate 81 in Mauzy could be determined by the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors at their meeting tonight.
Gas City LLC of Leesburg is requesting the rezoning of 31 acres of land just north of the Interstate Overpass at exit 257 to a commercial interchange district. The Business Interchange District was established by Rockingham County in 2021 and for the purpose of providing “service to the interstate traveling public in one concentrated location,” according to county documents.
Gurcharan Lail, owner of Gas City, plans to operate the truck stop at the site. Site plans show a 12,000 square foot convenience store, a 12-vehicle gas station and eight truck fuel pumps.
The proposal narrowly received approval from the County Planning Commission, which recommended approval on August 2. The Planning Commission filed the application in July after 10 people spoke against the application. Only one person spoke in favor of it.
Opponents said the application was inconsistent with the county’s overall plan and expressed concerns about the station’s impact on traffic, water and sewers.
Gas City also requires a Special Use Permit to operate an on-site truck wash and repair shop, as well as truck parking. On Wednesday, supervisors will first consider rezoning, which allows any permitted use in a commercial trading district, and then the special use permit.
Reached on Monday, Supervisor Dewey Ritchie, in whose district the proposal is located, said he was unsure how he might vote on Wednesday.
“I want to listen to everything before making a final decision,” Ritchie said.
In its case report, county staff wrote that although the property is designated as an agricultural reserve in the overall plan, it lends itself more to commercial use of commercial services with the proximity to the highway.
In 1985, Rockingham County underwent a comprehensive countywide parcel review, and parcels near intersections or interchanges were rezoned. Within this area, commercial zoning has been assigned to certain parcels near the site, including the current location of the Liberty truck stop and another parcel south of the proposed site, according to county documents.
County water and sewer are not available on site, and Gas City offers to use well water and a septic tank for sewage. Water supply is a waterworks project regulated by the Bureau of Drinking Water, and a sewage system is a proposed discharge system regulated by the Department of Environmental Quality.
The Virginia Department of Transportation will review the site plan to ensure the design meets all requirements. County officials noted that a VDOT truck parking assessment determined there was a shortage of 250 truck parking spaces in the local area.
A traffic impact analysis indicates that there is no need for additional traffic signals or other traffic calming measures at the entrance to the proposed development.
If approved, the Travel Center is expected to be completed by 2024.
The public hearing for the proposal is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Rockingham County Administrative Center.