Stanislaus County leaders approve a Highway 99 travel plaza to serve cars and big rigs

Stanislaus County supervisors approved a five-acre rezone Tuesday for a travel plaza near Highway 99 in Keyes.

The center serving passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers will have a 24-hour service station, convenience store, truck shop and two fast-food restaurants at East Keyes Road, between North Golden State Boulevard and Highway 99.

The plaza will offer gasoline and diesel fuel, with 55 parking spaces for cars and 10 stalls for large trucks. Overnight parking of tractor-trailer rigs won’t be permitted.

The Kamir Incorporated project is among commercial sites being developed near the Keyes and Highway 99 interchange, a mile north of Turlock.

Truck plazas have been discouraged along Highway 99 in Stanislaus County, including a proposal in Salida that met with intense opposition from nearby homeowners in 2019. But this development is farther away from homes and was endorsed by the Keyes Municipal Advisory Council in hopes it will generate tax dollars and economic activity.

“This is a logical place for this,” county Supervisor Vito Chiesa said. “It seems to make sense because of the commercial activity next to the freeway.”

The California Department of Transportation and county Public Works asked for a traffic impact study, which recommended street improvements to keep traffic flowing in the vicinity. County staff said most improvements will be deferred until after the new developments pay into a traffic impact mitigation program.

Kamir Inc. plans to build the first phase of the travel plaza within two years, including the fuel pumps and canopies, a 4,800-square-foot convenience market, maintenance shop, truck scale and parking. The quick-serve restaurants are in the second phase.

The developers said they will try to bring in higher-end fast food franchises for the two 3,000-square-foot eateries.

The county is applying a development standard to limit a travel plaza freeway sign to 70 feet. The developers could raise the sign to 85 feet if they demonstrate the extra height is needed to make it visible to freeway traffic. The proposed 85-foot sign would illuminate gas pricing.