The special exception process already in place sufficiently regulates gas stations in Montgomery County, the Planning Department staff wrote last week in a memo to the Planning Board on Zoning Text Amendment 12-07.
ZTA 12-07 would prohibit the construction of gas stations that dispense more than 3.6 million gallons annually 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 county council enacts the ZTA, Costco will not be able to build its proposed 16-pump gas station at Westfield Wheaton, next to the Kensington Heights neighborhood. The special exception process already underway for the Costco gas station was placed on hold last month, pending the outcome of ZTA 12-07 in the county council.
The Montgomery County Planning Board is scheduled to discuss ZTA 12-07 this Thursday. The Montgomery County Council’s public hearing is scheduled for June 19.
Should the planning board decide in favor of the ZTA, the Planning Department staff recommended the following changes in the text of the bill:
1. In determining whether a gas station should be categorized as large, use the number of pumps rather than a “gallons per year” measurement.
2. Shorten the distance from 1,000 feet to 300 feet.
3. Specify from which point on the site that the distance should be measured.
4. Narrow the scope of the ZTA by deleting the phrase, “or any use categorized as a cultural, entertainment and recreation use.”