Williams officials hopeful about truck stop
A recent decision by the Yolo County supervisors blocking a proposed Love's Travel Center in Dunnigan has buoyed the hopes of Williams officials that it could locate there.
At stake is what city officials estimate to be close to $1 million in local sales tax, plus as many as 40 year-round jobs.
Councilwoman Angela Plachek-Fulcher, the point person on the project for the City Council, cautions that a lot of things need to go right for Love's to come to Williams.
"The mentality we have in the city right now, and what we are talking to the developers about, is as a city we are moving forward. We have already missed some opportunities because we did not have all our ducks in a row," Fulcher said.
Tops on that list is completion of the city's General Plan update. Fulcher said the council hopes to have that done by May, but it could be June before formal action is taken.
As the city progresses with that planning document, the information has been forwarded to Caltrans, which also plays a big part in the future of that development.
Critical to landing the truck stop, or any similar project near the Highway 20 and Interstate 5 interchange area, is direct access off Highway 20 into the development area, city officials argue.
"It may not be another truck stop, but knowing where that land is, someone else is going to come in there, but not without that access," Fulcher said.
The councilwoman said Caltrans seems more open to the idea of developing access off the highway than the agency had in the past.
"They have indicated that they are definitely open to it," Fulcher said. "We have provided them with traffic studies and other information they requested."
Actually, the city has provided the agency with at least two different traffic studies, and are hopeful that will be sufficient.
One of the stumbling blocks in the past was the prospect of a large methanol plant being proposed for Colusa, and the possibility of a rail spur being built along Highway 20 between the two cities.
Fulcher said Caltrans no longer views that as a problem.
The Love's project actually came to the attention of the city about 18 months ago, Fulcher said. Dunnigan also was being considered.
About two months ago, the Yolo County Planning Commission voted to recommend the project at County Road 6.
But the supervisors did not like the location, preferring County Road 8 near the Pilot truck stop already in the area.
In one media report, Love's officials indicated they could not come to a land agreement at that site.
Fulcher said she talked to a Love's representative after learning about the Yolo decision, and that person indicated Williams might still be in the mix.
However, Yolo County could still be in the running too, Fulcher said, noting a citizen group that is planning to make a run at getting the supervisors to change their minds.
Working against Williams is the clock.
Fulcher said it could be a year before the city's location will be ready for a project. She is not sure if Love's will wait that long.
But Fulcher re-emphasized that the city is not building a future based on a Love's Travel Center. The council believes there will be other companies looking at that site and the whole of the of the Vann Brothers development area.
Love's was contacted for this story. The company's representative needed to get information from other officials, and they were not immediately available.