published Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Jasper truck stop neighbor not feeling the Love

Billy Simpson, the mayor of Jasper, Tennessee
Billy Simpson, the mayor of Jasper, Tennessee
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

JASPER, Tenn. — As progress continues toward construction of a Love's Travel Stop and Country Store near Interstate 24's exit 158, a man who lives next to the site is worried.

The Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously last week to annex the area between U.S. Highway 41 and the exit on Jan. 1 and to build a sewer line to it for the truck stop.

The annexation will encompass Carl Taylor's 31 acres, which border the Love's site.

"I guess I'm going to be affected more by being right next door to that property, and I've got some concerns about it," Taylor said.

He said he wanted to be assured there would be adequate police protection in the annexed area as well as some kind of barrier to separate the Love's facility from his property line.

Jasper Mayor Billy Simpson said the annexed area will have city police protection.

City Attorney Mark Raines said the Love's construction plan includes an "evergreen barrier" to help screen the site and lessen noise from neighboring properties.

"We're going to have some noise issues," Taylor said. "I can tell you that right now."

A more solid barrier should be built to separate the properties, he said, since one part of the adjoining property is a "straight walk" to his house.

"I'm not saying everybody is a criminal, but you have that small percentage [and] that gives them an opportunity to just cross over," Taylor said. "If I had some kind of barrier to keep an honest man honest, it would make [my family] feel better."

The developers "want to be good neighbors," Raines said, and a more permanent barrier may be something the city can discuss with Love's officials.

Love's officials could not be reached for comment.

Taylor also said he is worried whether his property will be taxed as residential or commercial after the annexation.

Officials said his property will continue to be zoned and taxed as residential unless it is used for a commercial business.

Alderman Steve Looney said the truck stop will benefit the city, Marion County and the whole area.

"We're not looking to sit here on our hunkers and not do anything," he said. "I want to see things improve for Jasper. This is not going to do anything but help Jasper."

Taylor said he doesn't want anyone to think he's against progress.

"People just have the feeling of being forced to do something that we don't really want to do," he said.

Taylor said he would like to "go over a few issues" with Love's officials and has asked city leaders to set up a meeting.

"I don't think [setting up that meeting] will be a problem, because they've been more than willing to listen," Simpson said.

Love's plans to open the truck stop in July 2013, officials said.

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