County Council to Vote on Gas Station Zoning Text Amendment
Legislation that the County Executive's Office of the Attorney has deemed unconstitutional will come to a vote at the Montgomery County Council's Tuesday afternoon session.
The Montgomery County Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday afternoon on ZTA 12-07, a controversial bill that if approved would block the construction of a proposed Costco gas station in Wheaton.
Last week, the County Executive's Office of the Attorney issued an opinion stating the ZTA is not legal because it targets one specific business.
Zoning Text Amendment 12-07 would prevent gas stations that dispense more than 3.6 million gallons per year from being located within 1,000 feet of "any public or private school, or any park, playground, or hospital, or other public use, or any use categorized as a cultural, entertainment and recreation use.”
If the ZTA passes, Costco will not be able to build its proposed 16-pump gas station at Westfield Wheaton. If the ZTA fails, Costco will continue through the regular special exception process.
ZTA 12-07, which was introduced in April, is sponsored by Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Valerie Ervin, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer.
Although Rice is one of the original co-sponsors, he is considered a swing vote, as is Councilmember Phil Andrews, the Washington Examiner reported Sunday.
"It's not how the bill affects just one gas station but how it affects all gas stations in the county," Andrews said, adding that his decision was "up in the air" but that legal arguments from Leggett's team were "extremely unpersuasive."
The Kensington Heights Civic Association, which supports ZTA 12-07 as a buffer between the neighborhood it represents and the proposed Costco gas station at the bordering mall, sent Andrews a letter to try and sway his vote. The KHCA appealed to Andrews' past support of public health bills such as the controversial ban on smoking in restaurants to protect employees from secondhand smoke.
Tuesday's Council session will be televised on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and streamed live online.
Check it out: Wheaton Patch has created a page where you can see all of our Costco gas station coverage in reverse chronological order.