Annexation approved for Love’s truck stop near airport

City Commissioners voted unanimously last week to approve the annexation of 2.775 acres into the city for the development of a Love’s Travel Stop and Country Stores.

The annexed parcels will be part of a larger development area that includes two parcels already in the city limits that are owned by the Great Falls International Airport Authority.

The development will include a truck stop, convenience store and possibly two fast food restaurants just off the I-15 interchange at Gore Hill on the airport side.

The food partners haven’t been announced yet, but Airport Director John Faulkner said, “it’s a good choice,” during the late August airport board meeting.
Love’s annexation gets initial approval

Love’s nationwide have restaurants that include: such as food from restaurant chains such as Arby’s, Baskin Robbins, Bojangles’, Burger King, Chester’s, Dairy Queen, Del Taco, Denny’s, Dunkin’, Friendly’s, Green Burrito, IHOP Express, McDonald’s, Popeyes, Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.

Faulkner said during that meeting that construction likely wouldn’t start until the spring.

Love’s will still have to submit more documentation and receive building permits from the city.

The airport owns the property and is leasing to Love’s.

Annexation was required because development cannot cross jurisdictional lines.

In July, the city planning board voted unanimously to recommend that the commission approve the annexation.

The two properties that were annexed were also assigned an AI Airport Industrial zoning.
Love’s Travel Stop annexation on city planning board agenda Tuesday

Water, sewer and sanitary services are currently within or near the two airport-owned parcels that are within city limits and proposed for development. Water services aren’t needed for the two lots that are to be annexed, but a public water main will need to be extended to service the large development site. An existing sanitary service line that crosses the two Love’s parcels to be annexed will be re-routed to accommodate the construction of the development, according to city staff.

The project has been in the works for the last year and has been complicated by jurisdictional issues and the annexation and development agreement since the airport thought it shouldn’t be party to the agreement, but the city officials believed it should since it owns the property and is leasing to Love’s.
Love’s Travel Stop planning Great Falls location

The annexation agreement language was discussed during multiple meetings at the airport board and again at the Sept. 3 City Commission meeting.

Among the points of significance in the agreement are the city’s desire to preserve emergency access to the 911 Dispatch Center, which neighbors the new Love’s development and a landscaping berm along the roadway to prevent vehicles from running into the dispatch center.

Jolene Schalper, senior vice president at Great Falls Development Authority, said that many trucking services contract for fuel and the Love’s could bring more trucking routes to the city and possibly expand options for shipping and associated business.
Multiple projects in the works near Great Falls airport

During the Sept. 3 meeting, Commissioner Mary Moe said that due to what appeared to be a lack of communication between the city’s representatives on the airport board and the city, she wanted to schedule meetings with the board or have regular reports from the airport board.

During the July 9 public hearing, planning board members expressed some concern over plans to close Airport Avenue B and realign traffic patterns around the airport since it could limit access points to current and future development near the airport.

That potential road closure is a “little bit concerning to me,” said board member Pete Fontana.

Craig Raymond, city planning director, said it’s also concerning to city staff but is not part of the proposal currently under consideration and the road closure would require future public meetings should a proposal be submitted.