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12/17/2013 11:02:00 AM
Judge dismisses Love's Travel Stop lawsuit
Williams City Council members vote to move road easement on property clearing way for travel center north of I-40
Williams City Manager Brandon Buchanan discusses an easement located on the Love’s Travel Stop property during the Dec. 12 city council meeting. Marissa Freireich/WGCN
Williams City Manager Brandon Buchanan discusses an easement located on the Love’s Travel Stop property during the Dec. 12 city council meeting. Marissa Freireich/WGCN

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

Plans for a Love's Travel Stop in Williams are moving forward after the city and Love's cleared a legal hurdle and approved an agreement to relocate an easement on the property.

On Nov. 22, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by local gas station owner Chuck Sandoval against the city of Williams regarding a sign variance for Love's.

"The judge, after hearing the merits of both sides, decided there was no specific harm to Mr. Sandoval and that's why he dismissed it," City Manager Brandon Buchanan said.

However, City Attorney Kellie Peterson said Sandoval's attorneys filed a motion for a new trial on Dec. 6. The motion is still pending.

Sandoval filed a complaint with the Superior Court of Arizona against the city of Williams on Aug. 9, asking for a preliminary injunction and stay in the issuance of four sign variances for the Love's property. Love's plans to put a travel stop on Grand Canyon Boulevard north of Interstate 40.

Sandoval owns a Shell and a Mobil gas station in Williams, which have the same zoning requirements as the planned Love's station.

On July 11, the Williams City Council (acting as the Board of Adjustment) unanimously approved a variance for a large freestanding sign advertising gas prices as well as variances for additional signage for the Love's property.

Williams has an ordinance in place stating the maximum height for a freestanding sign should not exceed 60 feet with a maximum size of 300 square feet. A typical Love's high-rise sign is more than 1,000 square feet, but Love's reduced the size to 558 square feet to accommodate the city's ordinance.

In the past, the Williams City Council has granted sign variances for Olson's Grain, Best Western Motel, McDonald's, Chevron and Holiday Inn. The Mobil Station has three freestanding signs on site with only one legal street frontage sign.

City easement

The Love's project took another step forward after Williams City Council members unanimously approved relocating an easement for the Love's property at their Dec. 12 meeting.

The vote allows Buchanan to continue the process of relocating the easement to the edge of the Love's property, since the existing easement goes through the middle of the property.

"The current easement that we have through there cuts several sites directly in half almost, making them unusable for any kind of significant development," Buchanan said. "So the new easement shifts to the east right along property boundaries and opens up several parcels for development."

The relocated easement will maintain the ability for the city to extend Grand Canyon Boulevard to connect to Airport Road in the future.

Love's, the seller of the property and the city developed the agreement to relocate the easement.

Buchanan expects the paperwork for the easement relocation to be completed in January.

Love's is in the process of finalizing building plans for approval. Once the plans are approved, Buchanan said Love's could be ready to start construction in February, although he said the construction timeline will be up to them.

"We're excited about hopefully getting this done," Buchanan said.

Related Stories:
• Sandoval sues city of Williams over Love's sign variance
• Sign of the times: Love's likely to build travel stop in Williams
• Love's Travel Stop eyes location at Grand Canyon Boulevard and I-40 in Williams

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 30, 2013
Article comment by: OH Really?

Why is everyone so concerned about the prices someone else charges for their services and products? This really isn't what any of this is about... it's about approving variences for one business and not for another. What is the purpose of having these regulations if they are going to be ignored when a large corporation asks? And how fair is it to not approve the same for all business in the area? Why bother having the regulations at all?

The economy of Williams doesn't really come from locals. Chuck is smart to base his business plan on tourism and highway traffic... This is why he does so well, maybe this is why people are so concerned about his gas prices.. jealousy? maybe? But who cares??? Really?!

This is about the sign size, not gas prices.

I'm sorry this was thrown out. I think Chuck should apply for his sign varience and they really have no choice but to approve it this time around.

I think it's sad that the city chooses to support corporate growth over local growth.

Posted: Friday, December 27, 2013
Article comment by: oh you crazy gas buyers

Compeition?, Is Sandoval the only darn station in town????? No.

He is just looking after his own best business interests (unfair business signage advantage granted to Loves) , just like you are looking after yours with your concern over gas prices.

Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013
Article comment by: J Sheward

I am excited to see this as it means competition and I most likely won't have to time my flag trips to be before I need fuel and not have to stop in Ashfork on my way to my mom's house in Kingman.

Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Article comment by: Gas Buyer

Chuck - instead of spending money on legal fees, just reduce the prices you charge non-Williams residents. You will come out ahead

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