The Department of Permitting Services has ruled that Westfield does not need additional parking for the new Costco wing at Wheaton Mall.
In November Westfield asked the county to waive a parking requirement set at 4.5 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of what is called “gross leasable area.” Last week, the Department of Permitting Services granted this request, lowering the parking ratio to 4.0.
The Kensington Heights Civic Association and the Kensington View Civic Association had opposed the parking waiver request, arguing that because Costco has not yet been built, Westfield could not yet properly evaluate how much parking would be needed.
When Westfield first applied for the parking waiver, these community groups asked for an extended comment period, saying that the county had not given proper notice. But this request was denied.
The Department of Permitting Services director addressed the Costco gas station in her comments about the decision to grant the waiver:
Some urged that the parking waiver request not be determined until the decision about the proposed Costco gos station is made. That decision however is the subject of a special exception proceeding and is not a part of the parking waiver detesmíoetion. Concerns relating to the location, buffering, impacts and other matters related to the proposed gas station will be appropriately addressed in the special exception proceeding.
The construction of the new Costco wing will take away some of the mall's current parking spaces, but a traffic expert brought in by Westfield testified that even when Costco is built, there will still be excess parking.