It was a late night for the Lubbock City Council but after all was said and done, a zoning change to approve a Love's Travel Center and an amendment to the synthetic marijuana ordinance were both passed 6 to 1.
"We're obviously very excited," said Love's Director of Real Estate & Development Rick Shuffield.
"We got through the second reading with the city council changing our zoning ordinance, so from this point forward it's really full steam ahead with the development. We're looking forward to not only being a part of the Lubbock neighborhood but the commercial area. We hope we spur a lot of development out here."
More than 100 people turned out to the meeting to speak and/or listen to the council's final decision. The majority stood in favor of the travel center when asked to show who was in favor of the zoning change.
"We hope, if all goes well with the balance of the permitting, we should be underway sometime this summer with either a very late end of the year or first of next year opening," Shuffield said.
In both cases the Mayor was the only vote against.
"It was a very passionate discussion with people on both sides of the issue, as we knew it would be," Mayor Robertson said. "It passed six to one. There was a second motion on the smaller track for future development. It failed 7-0, so right now, at this point it looks like that we will see the truck stop coming to Lubbock but we won't see the additional development until a specific site plans and uses can be determined."
Robertson agrees with the need to get synthetic marijuana out of our city but he doesn't feel this law is enforceable.
"I'm afraid it's an ordinance that made the situation worse," he said. "We ban a list of drugs and literally weeks afterwards they come out with new compounds. Every time they come out with new compounds they seem to get more and more dangerous so I want an ordinance that will ban this stuff completely from the sale to children. I want firm penalties on it. I'd like to see civil and criminal penalties and I want something we can enforce."
The city also discussed a task force that would study how to better regulate payday loans, but the mayor is skeptical.
"I don't think it's an issue we need to get involved in," he said. "I think the federal government and state governments regulate lending. For us as a city to get in that and almost guarantee that we're going to get sued by this industry, putting our citizens at risk and quite frankly protecting adults from themselves. Nobody has ever forced anybody to walk into one of these payday lending places, they've never forced them to sign on a note so I don't think it's our job to determine at what rate the lender is worth him mitigating the risk that he's taking."
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