A group of residents has appealed a state agency decision granting a liquor license to Love’s Travel Stops so it can sell alcohol in a casino at its planned truck stop near Ramsay on Interstate 90.
Joel Silverman, an attorney representing Ramsay residents opposed to Love’s plans, filed the appeal in state District Court in Butte, the only option available to contest the Montana Department of Revenue’s decision to grant the license.
Jim Ayres, who is among Ramsay residents opposed to the truck stop, said the residents are hopeful a judge will overturn the agency’s October decision to grant a liquor license transfer from the now-defunct 5 Mile Bar & Casino in Butte to Love’s.
That reasoning didn’t consider the public already there, meaning Ramsay residents, Ayres said Friday. As for the traveling public, he said, “There are six operating liquor licenses in Rocker (a few miles away) and the It Club just shut down.”
The agency decision was another setback to Ramsay residents who say the truck stop complex will bring traffic, noise, crime and pollution to their small, Mayberry-like community on I-90 about 7 miles west of Butte.
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Love’s says the truck stop will bring jobs and commercial activity to the area and the Revenue Department said it has a “credible history of responsible and safe management of the business model proposed for the Ramsay location.”
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores has more than 480 truck stops and stores in 41 states. It opened its first in Montana off of I-90 in Hardin, about 60 miles east of Billings, in 2017. According to plans, the one at Ramsay will include a truck stop, Arby’s restaurant, casino, tire shop and parking for at least 110 semis.
During a hearing on the liquor license in June, Sheriff Ed Lester said a truck stop would likely increase traffic, accidents, noise and pollution, and crimes such as petty theft and disorderly conduct. But the hearing examiner also noted that according to Lester, his department would add the area to its routine patrols.
Ayres acknowledged that, but said the sheriff also noted he wouldn’t get to hire additional officers to do it. He hopes the court takes that into consideration, as well as conflicts that Ramsay residents see with Love’s plans and zoning laws.
Love’s has been trying to meet other regulatory requirements but has not announced a specific date for starting construction.