During Monday night's city council meeting, the council granted conditional approval to construction plans for the Loves facility.
In August, City Manager Kevin McBurnett said developers needed approval from all regulatory agencies and the city by November to begin work by January 2011. At that time, officials said if the paperwork was delayed or failed to meet with approval, construction would be pushed back until the end of 2011, or even into 2012.
McBurnett said Monday that Loves representatives and city engineers worked to reach conditional approval, which gives permission to developers to proceed once approval is given by outside regulatory agencies.
"Where we are standing right now, we are hung up with just regulatory -- the administrative trail -- which you have to go through," said the city manager, adding that he expects Loves to begin "scratching ground" around Halloween.
Four items originally listed on Monday's agenda concerning Loves Travel Stops and Country Stores Inc. were dropped.
Two variance requests were removed after it was discovered the items in question -- both concerning signage -- were in compliance with city ordinances.
The two additional items, which also dealt with signage, were dropped by developers. McBurnett said the planning and zoning administration had denied the requests and developers chose not to seek variances.
Also Monday, the council:
* Held a first reading of the mobile home ordinance.
* Approved a resolution authorizing the submittal of Emerson Long Term Watershed Monitoring Plan.
* Approved a resolution making changes to the fee structure for certain offenses in Emerson Municipal Court.
* Held a first reading of an assistant to the city manager ordinance.
McBurnett said the ordinance will formally grant the title to Todd Heath, who resigned his position last month with the Emerson Police Department following his arrest for violating a court order.
Heath, who holds a bachelor's in computer science, had been working as the city's IT and Geographical Information Systems professional prior to his resignation. He will continue in those two positions, as well as becoming assistant to the city manager.
In other business, Police Chief Stan Bradley introduced a new officer to the council.
McBurnett announced that completion of work on Fourth Street -- with the exception of striping -- is scheduled for Sept. 27.
Mayor Al Pallone told the council the city's holiday event will move from city hall to Emerson Elementary School. Last year's festivities drew such a large crowd it was determined more space was needed. The city is seeking volunteers to help coordinate the event; those interested should contact city hall.