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Costco Members Asked to Support Wheaton Gas Station

Costco members in the greater Silver Spring area received a mailing asking for their support of the proposed Costco gas station in Wheaton.

Two weeks ago, Costco held a community open house , a gas station that the majority of residents in the adjacent Kensington Heights neighborhood adamantly oppose.

Costco followed up on that community outreach effort with a mailing dated April 24, that reached some homes of local Costco members Thursday evening. The letter, which does not mention the Kensington Heights neighborhood, is attached to this article in PDF form.

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In the letter, Costco asks its members to demonstrate their support for the gas station in two ways: by attending the Planning Board's public hearing on May 17, and by sending in the included postcard with its message, "I want to let the Planning Board know that I enthusiastically support the Costco gas station at the Wheaton mall."

Costco also set up a table at its warehouse in Beltsville to gather signatures and support.

Are you a Costco member? Will you attend the hearing or send in the postcard? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments.

Danila Sheveiko May 08, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Esther, We have reports of Costco members receiving notices in the District of Columbia as well, so this Costco mailing is definitely reaching outside the Greater Silver Spring area. Also, Kensington Heights is not facing these billion-dollar bullies alone - over the years we have received support from the Kensington View Civic Association, Coalition of Kensington Communities, Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board, Audubon Naturalist Society, local Sierra Clubs, Friends of Sligo Creek, Rock Creek Conservancy, Anacostia Watershed Society, etc.
Timothy May 08, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Is your objection just to the gas station, or to Costco locating in Wheaton at all?
Danila Sheveiko May 08, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Esther, we are now receiving reports of Costco mailings as far North as Boyds, MD.
Danila Sheveiko May 08, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Our main concern is location of the gas station. From the very beginning we did not oppose Costco's arrival, and sacrificed on the traffic, and the noise, and the air pollution. Of course, we were taken advantage of, and we were steamrolled on all of our concerns and suggestions, no matter how reasonable or constructive.
Wheatoner May 09, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Hmmm. As a Costco member who lives in Wheaton I didn't receive this. No matter, I was already planning on attending the meeting with many of my neighbors in support of Costco. We can't let the NIMBY's delay progress in Wheaton any longer.
Timothy May 09, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I really think it is unfair to dismiss the concerns the folks in Wheaton have about the gas station as "NIMBYism". If somebody were planning to build a huge gas station that close to my home, I'd want my concerns to be taken seriously and fully addressed. If the Wheaton folks were just reflex NIMBYs, they'd be opposing the Costco store itself.
Wheatoner May 09, 2012 at 02:20 PM
I won't say that they aren't "opposing the Costco store itself." KHCA opposed the subsidy, tried to delay the parking exemption, and tried to force Costco/Westfield into a legally unnecessary and costly environmental impact study. The reason that the Costco is moving forward at all is that they were smart enough to divest the gas station from the overall plan. That way it baits KHCA into only openly opposing the gas station (else the reveal what they really are - reflex NIMBY's), while Costco can easily defeat the annoying attempts at delay listed above. It's a perfect example of divide and conquer, and should probably be taught to every progressive developer that has to deal with a few selfish people who stand in the way of bettering the community.
Pete May 09, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Why doesnt cosco buy the Freestate gas station on viersmill road..they have lots of pumps there.. It does not have to be next to the Costco building.. The slogan goes Build it and they will come.. exspecially if Costco gas is a cheap price ...customer will find the station real quick.. Problem solved.. lets move on and open Costco Store..
Mike Smith May 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I agree with Danila and Timothy. Downtown Wheaton is a poor location for a mega-gas station. The County government should focus on making Wheaton more accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists and this is a step in the wrong direction.
Karen Cordry May 09, 2012 at 06:29 PM
The neighbors in Wheaton have had concerns about the store' s impact that they expressed in the normal course -- but have not opposed the store itself. If the store was built someplace else other than in a regional mall, those issues would have been taken up in the planning and approval process, but because the mall can generally build "by right," the neighbors didn't get a chance to weigh in on the concerns at an early stage. As a result, they have had to deal with each issue as it came up. And, I think if you look at the parking exemption position, it did not oppose the request that new spaces need not be built. It did raise questions about the validity of the analysis done to support the exemption and argued that there was no need to decide on the other issues at that time (particularly since granting the waiver would benefit Costco in arguing that there was space for the gas station.) The community tried repeatedly to work with Costco to determine if there was somewhere else to build this station and the answer was no. And, for that matter, it's very hard to see how building a station eight times the size of a normal station, that will draw its members from all over the county to sit idling on our doorsteps will "better the community." Costco wasn't "smart enough" to divest the station; it had no legal right to include the station in its plans, so it tried to blackmail the Council into changing the law to exempt it from normal rules. Not much of a neighbor.
ED May 09, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I have been a Costco member since the 1980's, I did not receive a card, but if I had, I would have returned it opposing the gas station. This mega-gas station does not belong anywhere close to homes, schools, or recreational facilities. I plan on attending the Planning Board meeting in opposition of the gas station.
Danila Sheveiko May 09, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Dear GinWheaton: You are certainly entitled to your own opinion, but facts are the same for everyone. FACT: KHCA did not oppose the Costco project and sacrificed from the beginning on the traffic, and the noise, and the extra air pollution, etc.. FACT: KHCA only opposed the location of the gas station and worked hard to propose alternative locations which were all shot down by Westfield and Costco FACT: KHCA did not oppose the $4 million for Westfield, as long as our concerns our addressed. We came up with compromise solutions to address our concerns, but they were all shut down by Westfield, Costco, and the County government. Please be more careful with your assertions in the future. I also urge you to examine the images uploaded above - surely this is the wrong place for the busiest gas station in Montgomery County!
Maria Fusco May 10, 2012 at 01:20 PM
When speaking with a Costco representative @ the mtg, I asked how come the gas station wasn't placed away from neighborhoods and schools, and he noted that they were told where to put it by owners; and added that they "really didn't even make money with the gas." And so I asked why have the gas station then? His answer: "Because it's a draw to Costco." Me: "So it IS about money then." And he noted "of course," adding that Costco is a "for-profit" company; and I noted realizing that, just that "he" brought up that the gas stations were not a money-maker. Possible point to make: "If gas really is a financial loss, why not just have the store? What are the #s that show Costco profit vs. cost to the neighborhood & local community." Perhaps this has been done, but if not, a possible angle.
Malcolm Wilson May 10, 2012 at 03:26 PM
"opposed the subsidy"-okay...now our illustrious County Executive wants to again bring up the need for ambulance fees when, just maybe, we could have used 4 mill for that? Sometimes NIMBY's are right. Go sit in the Beltsville parking lot at rush hour on a warm summer evening and tell me you can't see the pollution and smell the fumes. Costco is playing the bully role here and it will kill the neighborhood pool. It's more than a few selfish people. Its an entire community. There is so much that needs to be addressed with this, including the horrible traffic patterns in and out of the plaza (impossible to get from MidVale to Viers Mill on EB University boulevard in less than 15 minutes on a weekday in rush hour as it is) besides the impact. They ought to do the right thing and take their 4M and be happy with it and forget the gas station.
Deb G. May 10, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Where is the May 17 Planning Board hearing being held?
ED May 10, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Planning Board hearings are held at MNCPPC headquarters - 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD. I just checked the May 17 agenda and the Costco gas station Special Exception is not on the agenda. It was probably pulled off of the agenda since the Special Exception hearing has been postponed until after a decision on a zoning text amendment regarding these mega-gas stations.
Wheatoner May 10, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Danila - Now who’s using their own "facts?" Everyone knows that absent the gas station KHCA would have opposed the Costco itself. But ok, maybe I’ll give you the benefit on of the doubt on that. However, saying that you only opposed the station location is also bunk. In multiple postings on this site you have argued that the station shouldn't be put *anywhere* or that it's not needed *at all;* so to say that KHCA only opposed the location is just FALSE. Finally, to say that you were in favor of the subsidy if "your concerns" were met, while knowing that your "concerns" were so unreasonable as to only be calculated to cause delay to inevitable progress is disingenuous to the highest degree. I look at a map of a REGIONAL mall that draws shoppers from all around the REGION and see the perfect location for a “mega” gas station. Do I have sympathy for someone who bought property right next to a regional mall stalling progress for all of us? Heck no. You bought there taking full advantage of any discounted property values your proximity to the mall entailed. Now you want to somehow raise your property values (based upon a flawed understanding of a nonexistent “danger”) by shorting the utility that that mall gives to the rest of the community? Please. I have absolutely no sympathy for this position, nor should the Council or anyone else.
Rachel May 11, 2012 at 08:24 PM
As a long time Costco member, I am also fully in support of this Costco Gas Station. They offer significant savings to their members and in a much more convenient location. The Costco Gas stations are usually only a total of 8-12 gas pumps (no different than a normal gas station) and are usually run much more efficiently. Additionally, they have time limits on when gas is available which usually follow closely with the times of the their stores.
Karen Cordry May 11, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I am unaware of any Costco with as few as 8 pumps -- the ones I have seen all have at least 12; this one will have 16. They project it will pump 12 million gallons a year (sold to people driving from all over the region). A typical gas station in this area pumps about 1.5 million gallons, so this is the equivalent of 8 normal stations. And, whether efficient or not, they have cars lined up far in excess of anything that one can observe at anyone else's station. What other station routinely has 20-30 (and sometimes many more) cars idling constantly in addition to those at the pumps. You simply can't turn this station into the equivalent of any other station. Costco doesn't deny that this station would be dramatically different than any other station in this county. While it might be perfectly reasonably to have that size station in an industrial area like the Beltsville store, it defies any reasonable siting criteria to put it down within 150-300 feet of homes and recreational facilities. (Beltsville is about 1,000 feet from the nearest homes.)
Andrea May 14, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Of course no one would want a 16 bay gas station in their backyard. Costco is enlisting their members from outside the neighborhood to push on this. The KHCA is small in comparison and all Marylanders should be willing to stand up for their neighbors. Today it may not be your house but perhaps tomorrow it will and wouldn't you want to know that your fellow residents care more about you and your family than buying cheap gas from a mega-store?? This is about standing by our neighbors and building better communities not polluting the ones we have. I like Costco but have terminated my membership because they are using tactics which I consider unfair. I encourage everyone opposed to the gas station to do the same. Costco cares about one thing...money. They do not care about our communities.
bippi bajaj May 25, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Let cosco have their own gas station next to store. I am living in montgomery county since 1977.I am 100 percent behind costco. Actualy entire montgomrry support cosco

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