Last week, the City Council of Mesquite, Nevada, held a public hearing which caused quite a stir among both city officials and local residents. The hearing concerned a possible commercial zone change which would allow Virgin River Casino Corp., part of the Mesquite Gaming Group, to sell what was once the Mesquite Star Hotel & Casino building and acreage to The Pilot Flying J Corp.
The long-emptied building rests on 21 acres that would potentially house a Pilot Flying J Travel Center with two attached restaurants.
Mesquite, Nevada, is home to 20,000 residents, many of whom attended the hearing to protest the potential zone change.
Of the 16 people who spoke at the hearing, only three supported the action which would allow for the sale of the building to Pilot Flying J Corp.
Former Mesquite Mayor Susan Holecheck spoke at the hearing, saying the travel center would increase traffic, air pollution, sound pollution and road maintenance. Holecheck believes the project, which would employ around 75 people, would not make up for the possible damage done to local businesses.
Mesquite Regional Business board member, David Ballweg, says, “We have an empty facility (Mesquite Star Hotel & Casino) that has been nothing for years – way before I came here and no prospects for anything going forward… We have to be realistic about this.”
Christopher Kaempfer, a Las Vegas attorney representing The Pilot Flying J Corp., said the company has studied Mesquite carefully and believes the North Sandhill location to be the only area that would meet its need for, not just a fuel facility, but also retail outlets.
The City Council voted 3-1 to delay action on the measure until its Feb. 12, 2013, meeting.
Drivers: Are you familiar with the Mesquite, Nevada, area? How would turning this building into a Pilot Flying J Travel Center affect your routes?