The Richmond Planning Commission voted to approve a preliminary plat which would make way for a 53,000 square foot Buc-ee’s, a travel center with 120 fueling stations.

Members of the board heard from several engineers on the project who gave more information on the Texas-based company, which could potentially find its next location off I-75 at the Duncannon exit.

Scott Ratliff, the chain’s project manager, went before the board last week and detailed a few of the company’s unique offerings which included: having the cleanest bathrooms, the longest jerky counter, fresh baked goods and custom novelty items.

“We are not small, we are very large,” Ratliff said. “We have every travel item you can think of and souvenirs. We are different from other places in the United States.”

He described the facility as a travel destination where patrons can fill up at a pump and spend 45 minutes to an hour browsing before continuing the journey.

The location planned for Richmond would be the furthest north for a location of a Buc-ee’s. The travel centers have previously been exclusive to only the Lone Star state, but began to branch out to the Carolinas, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

According to some city officials, the project is a $30 million investment to the city, which would bring 150 to 200 jobs to our area.

Will Spaulding, the civil engineer with the project, said main transportation work would have to begin off the interstate corridor, before development on the structure could begin.

More specifically, the structure would be split into two lots, the first being 24.85 acres at lot one, and 1.22 acres on lot two, to be named “Buc-ee’s Boulevard.”

The group also discussed several variances which would need to be approved by the Board of Adjustments that included light variances to make the poles higher, light intensity variances for the 45 foot candles which would be under the gas canopy, and a sign extension.

Director of Codes, Planning and Safety, Philip Williams, said these variances were standard as the city’s development ordinances were not “written to accommodate a development like this.”

Additionally, the group is already working with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and Richmond Utilities for gas and sewage which would need to be installed.

For the light poles, the height restriction is 22 feet, which could potentially be adjusted for the Buc-ee’s development of lights anywhere from 30 to 35 feet.

In terms of the light intensity, which yields 45 foot candles under the pump station canopy, Ratliff said this was to keep the pump station lit well, and safe for travelers.

“We have energy efficient LEDS, directed downward on the parking field which is geared towards the traveling public, because we care about safety as it relates to little ones in the parking lots,” he said. “We try to outline our fixtures in the lot to make it at the property line so there is no light trespass….

“We try to be a good neighbor, but still provide safety.”

Eugene Estelle commented saying the area was “dense,” and would not necessarily give off much light trespass into another area.

Before the site plan was unanimously approved, both Ratliff and several of the commissioners said they were looking forward to the chain coming to Richmond.

“This is exciting, especially from a tourism aspect,” Commissioner Kay Jones said. “This looks good.”

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.

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