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Twice denied truck stop back on Kyle's radar

The Free Press of Buda, Texas

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After dying twice on the council floor, a prior truck stop proposal may come before Kyle city leaders again after the May election that could put four new faces on the dais. The issue was one of several discussed at Tuesday's Kyle Chamber of Commerce candidate debate.

Mayoral candidate Brad Pickett said he has recently been in conversations with the property owners and a new project may be forthcoming. According to April 10 campaign finance reports, Pickett is the lone council aspirant to receive a financial contribution ($1,500) from the truck stop site owners.

"They are actually not completely sold that (a truck stop) is what needs to go there," Pickett said. "And they are considering other options with small retail and multilevel housing."

Pickett, a former council member, said he voted for the project. He added that a truck stop was not his first choice, but as it would bring business to Kyle, he was in favor of it.

"It was in a good location, and I still feel that it is," he said. "And whatever they decide to do there, my vote will be based on what the citizens at that time who live in Kyle want for that area."

San Marcos residents from Blanco Vista, a community within 1,000 feet of the proposed business, mobilized against the project and implored the Kyle council to reject it, citing traffic concerns, a potential increase in crime, lowered property values and a diminished quality of life.

Then-San Marcos City Manager Jim Nuse also weighed in on the matter and sent a letter to city leaders opposing the project.

Project consultant Hugo Elizondo told council last year that the facility and incoming businesses would produce nearly $500,000 in tax revenue in year one.

Mayoral candidate Todd Webster questioned that claim Tuesday, saying a "massive" project like the Walgreens Distribution Center in Waxahachie would be needed to produce that kind of revenue.

He added that gasoline taxes go to the federal government, not the city.

Webster said when balancing the project benefits against its drawbacks, "I don't think it's a good fit for the community."

Mayoral candidate James Adkins said a project with potentially $1 million dollar tax revenue for the city should be embraced and deliberated thoroughly.

"We need to go to the people of Kyle and let them decided whether they want that venue in here or not," Adkins said.

Council member David Wilson, who is being challenged by Laurie Luttrell, said he voted for the truck stop twice, saying the project included a hotel and two restaurants.

"That's large money that is important for our community and tax base and in revenue," Wilson said.

Luttrell, without hesitation, said she was opposed to the truck stop.

"I don't see it," she said. "I don't think it's viable. It's not going to bring us so much tax revenue that is going to make that much difference," she said, echoing Webster's comments that gas taxes go to the federal government.

She was also against the location and said that even though Blanco Vista residents do not belong to Kyle, "that is people's neighborhood, and to have (the truck stop) right there, I can't support it."

Incumbent District 2 candidate Becky Selbera and challenger Jaime Sanchez were both absent from the debate.

Election Day is May 10, with early voting beginning on April 28.

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Original Publication Date: April 23, 2014

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