Residents Win in
Planning Commission Rejects Truck Stop Proposal
By Laura B. Withers
The Winchester Star
Holding handmade signs
written diligently in black marker, more than 30 Clearbrook
residents asked the Frederick County Planning Commission to “say no”
to another truck stop in their neighborhood Wednesday.
The group calls themselves Clearbrook Citizens for Safety. All
members live across or near a strip of land between Interstate 81
and U.S. 11 south of Rest Church Road that until Wednesday was
thought to be the future site of a Mr. Fuel truck stop.
The Planning Commission voted against the county’s Comprehensive
Plan and sided with frustrated residents.
Commissioners voted 10-1 to deny landowner T. Pat Manning’s
request to rezone the 12 acres for industrial use. Commissioner Greg
L. Unger voted against the measure, and Cordell Watt and George J.
Kriz were absent.
The news was especially hard for Manning, who said he spent the
last six years preparing the plan and addressing county planners’
The president of Arogas Inc. withdrew a similar rezoning request
in 2000, after county supervisors tabled it because it did not meet
the regional land-use plan’s requirements.
On Wednesday, planning commissioners said Manning did everything
he was supposed to do and ended up with a virtually perfect proposal
in accordance with the county’s designated land uses.
But the project is just in a bad location, said Planning
Commissioner John Light, before introducing a motion to deny the
“I think Mr. Manning is the guy we’ve been looking for,
unfortunately he’s just in the wrong place,” Light said. “I said
that last time, I’ll say it again.”
All but two of the 10 people who spoke at the public hearing were
against the request.
Many said trucks trying to get into the Flying J truck stop on
Rest Church Road already stack back to I-81 at all hours of the day.
State transportation officials also warned that another truck
stop near on- and off-ramps to I-81 could create a dangerous driving
situation and congest the intersection of U.S. 11 and Rest Church
But Virginia Department of Transportation officials were
generally satisfied with transportation plans in the rezoning
According to traffic impact studies, the proposed truck stop and
accompanying restaurants and stores would generate about 4,800 new
car and truck trips per day.
Tractor trailers are estimated to make up about 2,000 of those
trips each day.
Manning said that
means a truck would be entering or leaving the gas station and
restaurant facility every 1 1/2 minutes.
But Light said that’s almost impossible.
He said sitting at a red light at Rest Church Road and U.S. 11
takes two minutes as is.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” Light said.
Commissioner Roger L. Thomas said he couldn’t see how all the
trucks were going to fit.
“It seems to me like we’re just making a bad situation worse,” he
The Clearbrook residents filling pews in front of him couldn’t
agree more and showed their appreciation for the commissioners’
decision with a short applause and a communal sigh of relief.
Some convened in the hallway outside of the Board of Supervisors
room after the vote to continue the conversation.
Ed Butler, spokesman for Clearbrook Citizens for Safety, said
every morning when he drives to work he sees “no parking” signs on
the southbound on-ramp to I-81, warning truckers that they cannot
The Frederick County native said the air quality near his home is
“terrible” from the diesel fumes that roll in from the nearby Flying
“We’ve gotten an education from Flying J,” he said. “We know what
[another truck stop] will do. We know how the trucks stack up.”
When Butler finished speaking to the Planning Commission, other
members of the neighborhood group held up the “say no” signs,
silently communicating their wishes.
Many of them said they will bring the same message to the Board
of Supervisors, when it considers the rezoning request June 22.
Present at the meeting in the Frederick County Office Complex
were Light, Thomas, Unger, Charles S. DeHaven Jr., Robert A. Morris,
Charles E. Triplett, Rick C. Ours, Pat Gochenour, Marie F. Straub,
H. Paige Manuel, and June Wilmot. Watt and Kriz were