Love’s has killed plans to build a truck stop near Ramsay, Montana, a tiny town on Interstate 90, following fierce opposition from local residents.
The decision not to proceed with the truck stop comes even as Love’s, in a culmination of a five-year effort, received the final approval it needed from the Butte-Silver Bow Board of Adjustment. Ramsay is located in Silver Bow County, and Butte is the nearest city. According to local media reports, the vote authorizing the truck stop was 5-0.
The end result is that Love’s could have gone ahead with the construction but chose not to.
“We are thoughtful about where we choose to locate our Love’s Travel Stops,” Love’s said in a statement released to the local media in Montana. “Professional truck drivers identified the location along Interstate 90 as an underserved part of Montana for safe, clean and well-maintained places to stop as they deliver essential goods.”
Local media reports cited residents’ fears that crime and safety might be negatively impacted by the truck stop. Those same reports said there were plans to appeal the 5-0 vote.
Caitlin Campbell, a spokeswoman for Love’s, told FreightWaves the decision to not pursue the truck stop in Ramsay would not affect its other growth plans. She said Love’s has opened 15 locations in 2022 and has plans to add approximately 35 more by the end of the year.
For the past several years, Love’s annual forecast on the number of parking spots it plans to add is generally near 3,000 and it has regularly hit that number, according to its annual statement on its construction plans. Love’s does not charge a fee for parking.
An article in The Montana Standard from June said Love’s had begun some construction at the site after the issuance of building permits, but a judge’s order had stopped that work. That article described Ramsay as being 5 square miles with 40 houses.
“From the project’s beginning five years ago and at every point thereafter, Love’s has complied with applicable laws and permitting procedures,” the company said in its local news release. “This culminated in the recent affirmation by the Board of Adjustment of Love’s building permits, clearing the way for the company to continue construction.”
Local news coverage of the decision focused on the reaction of residents. In an article on the website of Butte CBS affiliate KXLF, local resident Michelle O’Bill was quoted as saying: “Oh, it’s like we won the lottery. I’m so happy. I’m just thrilled to death.”
“Love’s recognizes that some Ramsay citizens and leaders took exception to bringing a Travel Stop to the area,” the company said in its statement. “A core tenet of our company’s values is that our locations maintain strong connections to all communities we serve through local job growth, career development, positive economic impacts and philanthropic support. We will continue these local commitments and support our valued customers and employees in communities across the United States.”
Love’s has three other locations in Montana: Great Falls on Interstate 15 and Missoula and Hardin, both on I-90.