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Rezone request for truck stop near Belfield denied

The proposal to rezone an almost 150-acre property near Belfield from agricultural to industrial in order to build a large industrial park for truckers was unanimously denied Thursday after neighbors of the proposed development expressed disinterest in bringing it to the area during the Stark County Zoning Board meeting.

Commissioner and zoning board member Jay Elkin said the development was not necessary right now.

"I would like to see other areas developed first," he said. "I'm not saying that it could not be done in the future but not now."

The property owner, Jesse Boltz, said he was approached by a developer, Russ Attree with Minus Forty, who felt that a facility for truckers would benefit the area with a paved parking lot, comfort stations that would be like a campground for truckers, furnished $1,000-a-month trucker suites that would be one-bedroom apartments, a 24-hour restaurant and a truck wash.

"This area is dependent on truckers and I think we've come up with a concept for a 24-hour truck facility that will look like a Class A project," Attree said. "Highway 85 is a main corridor and I cannot think of a better use for this property."

But Curt Buckman, whose family lives on 128th Avenue Southwest and would have been less than a half-mile from the proposed development, disagreed with the need for such a large industrial-type development in an area designated for agriculture.

"I do not see where this is necessary or how it would complement the area," Buckman said.

Stacey Buckman, who also resides near the proposed development, said there isn't "a burning need for this at this time."

"This conglomerate they're proposing is not necessary and I do not see how it is sustainable 10 years down the road," she said. "One of my concerns, too, is the facility open 24-hours a day. I have children and people are already constantly speeding down the road and there is more traffic now. It will also increase the transient lifestyle. I really not think it is beneficial to the area at all."

The neighbors' concerns were shared by County Planner Steve Josephson, who recommended the board deny the request for a zoning change because "a need was not yet shown for the 148-acre site."

"This property is within the county and would be allowing for uses of a property that are not generally allowed in the area," he said. "It also would not protect the agricultural uses of the area."