Dear Editor:

There have been numerous recent letters opposing a Love’s Truck Stop in Spanish Valley. But SITLA is the real villain in the neighborhood, not Love’s. Love’s is merely a big corporation taking advantage on a sweet deal on valuable land.

The School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) is a powerful state agency with little or no state regulation. SITLA functions as a real estate firm without regard for the public good. SITLA is selling this land to Love’s with absolutely no concern for the existing neighbors. The SITLA/Love’s truck stop deal commenced behind closed doors back in 2018–there was no public input. In fact, the public was never informed about this pending sale until this year when Brian Torgerson, SITLA’s local staffer, called it a “done deal.” Which, it turns out, may not be totally accurate, thankfully, but it clearly illustrates SITLA’s position.

Why would SITLA even consider selling valuable land in a growing residential area for a truck stop 25 feet from a residential neighborhood? 

This is not just a gas station and convenience store, but a huge 13-acre truck plaza with 53 bays for trucks to park and idle all night and parking spaces for 90 cars. Imagining the traffic there alone is a nightmare, much less the noise and diesel exhaust spewing into our valley.

Residents who live next to this proposed monstrosity have gone twice to SITLA board meetings to request that the trustees reconsider this sale. Homeowners gave factual information about health, safety and welfare concerns. Board members nodded and moved on to other business.

Why did SITLA do the deal behind closed doors, rather than soliciting public input and informing Spanish Valley residents of its intention to sell the land for a truck stop development? Well, duh, SITLA does not value or care about residents and taxpayers concerns.

SITLA could stop this sale if it cared about residents’ health, safety and overall quality of life. SITLA is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and the room is all of Spanish Valley in this instance.

If the sale of this 13-acre parcel for a truck stop is any indication of how SITLA is going to treat our valley and our home, then I fear our beloved Spanish Valley is doomed. SITLA owns thousands of acres that could face a similar fate.

Jeannie Bondio

Sunny Acres Lane, Moab