VALE — The Malheur County Court has tentatively upheld a decision of the County Planning Commission to amend conditional use permits previously issued for construction and operation of a truck repair shop/truck wash and restaurant in a designated Rural Service Center Zone at Farewell Bend.
This would be in addition to a convenience store/fuel station now under construction and hotel which was already included in the conditional use permits, just off of Interstate 84, across U.S. Highway 30 from the Port of Entry.
These are all part of a new truck stop and travel center at the site, replacing similar facilities that were torn down after being vacant for several years. Developer and owner Joseph Alee said the facility is a TravelCenters of America franchise, which requires that a truck repair facility be part of the center in connection with the fuel center, necessitating that addition, plus International House of Pancakes, which will be the restaurant, does not allow alcohol and so will be a stand-alone business, separate from the convenience store, which will handle alcoholic beverages.
Alee said he hopes to open the convenience store in March.
Wednesday the County Court considered an appeal of the decision to grant amending the conditional use permits to allow the two additional structures from Ben Wigley, Jr., owner of Ben’s Truck Repair.
In his statement, Wrigley said he had operated the truck repair business out of the former Farewell Bend Truck Plaza and when that part of the business ended, he bought the building which moved off site, to an adjacent property.
He cited competition, sewer issues and water in his reasons for the appeal.
“Originally Joseph Alee agreed he was not going to hurt local business.” Wigley wrote. “He was only going to be operating a truck stop, fuel station and motel. He told me that he would not harm my business (truck repair).”
“This project continues to build without sanitation compliance,” Wigley continued.
“There is no sewage permit approval. The ponds have been approved for use that are non-compliant.’
On the water issue, “Wigley wrote, Without an accurate flow test there is no way of knowing what the affect will be on neighboring wells. The next phase of this project should not be allowed until water balance is available on year round basis.
Members of the County Court said the issue of competition was not germane to the conditional use permit and Wigley is competing elsewhere, State Watermaster Ron Jacobs said so far Alee was within his water rights on the one well that is being pumped. Two other wells that have been permitted have not been developed, said Malheur County Planner Eric Evans.
Clint Abbe, a nearby property owner, said his wells have not been affected by well operations on the truck stop site.
The Court will take final action on its decision at its next meeting on Jan. 15, after when there will be a 21-day window to file an appeal the state Land Use Board of Appeals.