GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A redevelopment plan for the former Tomahawk Truck Stop site in West Glenwood will include the potential for a 24-hour drive-through restaurant window.
Glenwood Springs City Council, at its Thursday meeting, voted unanimously to approve a major development permit for Grand Junction-based Loco, Inc. to redevelop the northeast corner of Highway 6 and Mel Ray Road.
The prime corner parcel just off the Interstate 70 Exit 114 interchange has long been the site of the Tomahawk Truck Stop and related facilities, including the main Greyhound bus stop for Glenwood Springs.
Loco's plans call for an automobile fueling station, without the truck stop features. Plans also call for maintaining the bus stop and ticketing station, along with a convenience store, a drive-through restaurant to be determined, and a self-storage building on the north end of the property.
The new facility represents a $3.5 million to $4 million investment, and will eventually provide between 15 and 30 jobs, according to Loco representative Tom Hoffman, who spoke at the Thursday meeting.
City planning staff had recommended against allowing the drive-through restaurant to operate around the clock, in order to minimize impacts on the Machbeuf Apartments to the northeast of the site and other area residences.
But the city's Planning and Zoning Commission recommended allowing 24-hour access. City Council agreed with project official John Scales that, by not allowing 24-hour access, it would put the new development at a competitive disadvantage compared to other fast-food restaurants that do not have restricted drive-through hours.
"At this point, we are not sure which quick-service restaurant it might be and whether they will want to have a 24-hour drive-up window," Scales said. "But don't put us at that competitive disadvantage."
Of the eight fast-food restaurants now operating in Glenwood Springs that have drive-through service, only the recently redeveloped Taco Bell on Grand Avenue has restricted hours included with its development approval, from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. That was due to its proximity to nearby residences.
The others, while allowed to operate 24 hours, all have limited hours due to a lack of demand during the overnight hours. In fact, most now close for the rest of the night between 9 p.m. and midnight.
Given the easy access off of I-70, though, an operator at the Loco site might see enough demand to stay open all night, Scales said.
The self-storage facility will have limited hours of operation, between 6 a.m. and midnight, council agreed in its development approval.
Councilman Mike Gamba asked again if Loco would be interested in installing a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station. The city is currently seeking proposals for gas station operators to take advantage of a financial incentives to install a CNG station within the city somewhere.
"We have not ruled that out," Scales said. "But we haven't quite figured out how to make that work."
Also at the Thursday meeting, city council voted 7-0 to adopt membership fee increases for use of the recreation facilities at the Glenwood Springs Community Center, as recommended by park and recreation director Tom Barnes.
Fees for monthly, six-month and annual memberships will go up an average of 2 percent, effective April 1. The fee increases will not apply to daily drop-in rates, or to members to currently use the automatic withdrawal pay system, Barnes said.
For a full rundown of the new community center fee schedule, see Thursday's Post Independent or find the preview story at www.postindependent.com.