Dear Editor:

I felt fortunate to attend the April 3 meeting of the San Juan County Planning and Zoning Commission, along with neighbors from both Grand amd San Juan Counties.

Wonderfully articulate members of the standing-room-only citizenry in attendance participated in the “public hearing” portion of the meeting with specifically useful feedback and generous offers to contribute their expertise to the commission.

One of the issues discussed particularly engaged me, and as a followup to April 3, I sent a letter to Elise Erler, SITLA’s deputy assistant director for property planning and development. My intention is to encourage others to express their thoughts and feelings.

I am writing to express my deep concern about the sale of SITLA land for a Love’s truck stop in close proximity to a residential area. My husband and I attended the San Juan County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on April 3, at which time this was discussed. We have lived full-time in the area since 1996. I am a practicing mental health practitioner.

Earlier on the day of the above-mentioned meeting, I read an article in the New York Times, “Fighting Sex Trafficking at the Truck Stop” (New York Times, Opinion, April 2, 2019).

It is hard for me to connect SITLA’s child-oriented mission with this truck stop project.

The SITLA person at the April 3 meeting, Bryan Torgerson, said that other sites were considered for the Love’s truck stop, but they did not meet Love’s criteria. I urge you to consider whose “criteria” should prevail when the issue is the safety and well-being of children and their families. 

In addition to my private practice as a licensed clinical social worker, I also volunteer to provide mental health services at the Moab Free Health Clinic.

The families served are in the midst of already very challenging circumstances. Please consider re-negotiating with Love’s in order to move the truck stop to Crescent Junction or La Sal Junction, either of which would be a much healthier distance from an established residential neighborhood.

The amount of money SITLA will receive from the sale to Love’s has been “circulating” amongst the large group of San Juan County and Grand County citizens who attended the April 3 meeting. Comments I’m hearing sound like this: “Not a lot of money to sell a community down the tube.”

I can’t imagine SITLA wants to invite this very bad publicity.

SITLA has an opportunity to take a strong stand is support of children and families. Please do that.

Jan Crutchfield

Northern San Juan County