The Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee voted at its May meeting to take a neutral position on Costco’s special exception application for a gas station at Westfield Wheaton. At Wednesday's meeting WRAC followed up by voting to send a letter to the county executive explaining its stance.
Many WRAC members said they did not think the gas station was compatible with the committee’s vision for mass transit and smart growth in Wheaton. But their neutral position stems from a conviction that they are not qualified to determine whether the proposed gas station poses any health risks, as they wrote in the letter.
The Kensington Heights Civic Association, which is leading the opposition to the Costco gas station, presented WRAC with testimony from Henry S. Cole, an environmental expert that the KHCA hired to evaluate Costco’s own air quality studies. But WRAC members demurred, saying that they were not qualified to analyze a technical document.
Unofficially, the environmental group GreenWheaton has taken a similar stance, as GreenWheaton member Kathy Michels explained to WRAC.
“I think I can say that no one is actually for it,” Michels said. “The question is whether we should actually come out against it.”
GreenWheaton’s status as a nonprofit makes any advocacy statements potentially risky. “It’s a fine line to walk,” Michels said.