I-70 truck stop may have large sign, restaurants

BZA will vote today on sign variance.

A $7.5 million truck stop planned for Interstate 70 and Ohio 41 will include a 90-foot digital pricing sign, as well as two restaurants, according to documents obtained by the Springfield News-Sun.

The approximately 20-acre Love’s Travel Stop is expected to bring as many as 60 jobs to Clark County in 2015. It could include both Wendy’s and Subway restaurants, according to concept drawings as part of the application’s sign plans. The travel stop is expected to open in early winter of 2015.

The Subway restaurant has been confirmed for the location, said Kealey Dorian, a media specialist for Love’s Travel Stops. The other restaurant could be either a Wendy’s or McDonald’s, Dorian said.

It’s also expected to be open 24 hours per day and have 100 truck parking spots. The travel stop may also have a tire truck care location, according to the documents.

Love’s purchased 5.2 acres of property at 4725 S. Charleston Pike last year for $566,000, the site of the former Prime Fuel truck stop. The company is expected to close on the remaining 15 acres of farmland near the planned 250-acre Prime Ohio II Industrial Park by the end of the year and begin construction next spring.

The company has applied for a sign variance for the 90-foot digital pricing sign for its planned location at 4725 S. Charleston Pike. The main sign is expected to be 90-feet tall and 585 square feet, exceeding the maximum requirements set forth by the Springfield Twp. Zoning Manual by nearly three times. The sign limit is approximately 35 feet and 100 square feet per side.

The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals will hear the case for the sign variance at 7 p.m. Monday at the city hall forum, 76 E. High Street. The city is handling the application because the truck stop was recently annexed into Springfield through a Cooperative Economic Development Agreement.

The digital pricing sign is similar to the Speedway sign on Interstate 70 near State Route 54, which displays prices for both unleaded and diesel gas.

City staff has recommended approval of the sign, citing increased visibility for drivers on I-70. The property can be difficult to see due to the layout of the interchange and the topography of the area in relation to Interstate 70.

“It makes it very difficult to see the property,” Heck said.

The sign height and square footage will allow for better visibility and safety for drivers navigating from I-70 to the exit to the travel stop, according to the company’s application.

“(The truck drivers) need plenty of time to be able to see it’s a Love’s, know what the exit number is and have time to exit,” Dorian said.

Springfield Township zoning administrator Jeff Briner did not have any issues with the application, according to public documents.

The truck stop will help businesses in the area, said Linda Butler, who co-owns nearby Grandpa’s Garage, 4700 S. Charleston Pike, with her husband, Dick. The business specializes in vintage transportation items, including antiques and parts.

“It’s really going to give our business more visibility because of the increased traffic,” Butler said.

The truck stop is also needed, Butler said, because trucks will often use their parking lot to turn around after exiting and realizing the former truck stop has closed. They’ve put signs asking truck drivers not to turn around, but the signs are often ignored. The business has been open two years and the trucks are finally starting to realize the former Prime Fuel is closed, Butler said.

“They really destroy our parking lot when they turn around,” Butler said.

The $8 million Prime Ohio II Industrial Park, a project of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Community Improvement Corporation, is also being constructed near the planned truck stop on Ridge Road. Water and sewer lines and a new road called Prime Parkway are under construction and expected to be completed later this summer.

The park has enough space for companies that could bring up to 1,000 jobs to Clark County.

“We’re getting a lot of inquries about availibity,” Hobbs said.

A $500,000 double-sided digital billboard is also planned to be constructed this summer near the interchange to advertise local tourism events. The 14 x 48 double-sided sign, which will be located right before Exit 59, will be paid for by the Clark County Convention Facilities Authority through the countywide accommodations tax, which collects 3 percent from all hotel, motel and bed and breakfast stays within the county.

“It’s still in the works,” Hobbs said.

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