Lebanon Pilot Flying J travel center gets OK from Warren County judge

LEBANON, Ohio -- After a long, drawn out fight, the developers of a new travel center received the green light to build a new travel center east of Lebanon. 

On Tuesday, a Warren County judge rejected an appeal of several dozen residents who sought to stop the development of a Pilot Flying J  travel center on an 11-acre plot of land just off Interstate 71 at Exit 32.

In March , Turtlecreek Township resident Dan Alesi and 77 of his neighbors filed a lawsuit in Warren County Common Pleas Court to stop the multi-million dollar project that was approved in February.

The group Citizens for Responsible Development appealed the decision because they believed having a truck stop in the area would deter future business expansion in the area.

"People have talked about wanting that to be the gateway to Lebanon. Well we don't want a truck stop to be the gateway to Lebanon. There are better places, you know. Truck stops are needed. Right up the highway there is another exit that would be much more beneficial," Lebanon resident Tony Collins told 9 On Your Side in January  while the project was still being discussed.

Some people who live near the proposed construction site said they oppose the truck stop because they believe it will bring problems to the area, including "noise and prostitutes," which they say will negatively affect property values.

Opponents of the project sought to find legal ways to put a hold on construction. One way was hiring a zoning expert who believes having overnight stays and fast food in the travel center would be against current zoning laws. 

There are approximately 550 interstate Pilot Flying J travel centers and travel plazas across the country, according to the company website.

The travel centers feature various food offerings, a convenience store and accommodations including showers and lounges. They pander to trucking companies, professional drivers, RV drivers and long-distance travelers.

A timetable for the completion of the project has not been determined.

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