Inform Yourself About Costco's Push for a Mega Gas Station at Wheaton Plaza

Faxing in a simple form will get you on a Montgomery County mailing list.

Costco has now formally applied to Montgomery County for a special exception to the current zoning at Wheaton Plaza so that it can build a mega gas station close to its store.  You can get on the County's mailing list to receive updates on Costco’s application, such as hearing date changes, by becoming a "Party of Record."

To become a Party of Record mail or fax your contact information to the County's Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings.  I attached a copy of a form you can use to this blog posting.  You'll find the address and fax number for the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings on the form.  Make sure to sign the form before you submit it, that's a requirement for becoming a Party of Record.

You've probably surmised from the photo I used for this blog posting that I'm not a proponent but being a Party of Record will provide you with information whatever your stance is.  My take is that building the busiest gas station in Montgomery County on a parcel of land that's a fifteen minute walk to the platform of the Wheaton Metro would be an abysmal outcome for Wheaton and I don’t believe Montgomery County will let it happen.

The decision made on Costco's special exception application will impact Wheaton's traffic, environment, health, walkability, and livability for many years.  Become a Party of Record and stay informed.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Strauchan January 09, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Ed, Eventually Wheaton, like most areas surrounding Metro, will move to structured parking. My personal feeling, though, is that Wheaton doesn't need more vertical development at the Mall, it needs it in place of the existing run down low rise buildings that exists throughout the town. The Mall is not the eyesore, it is the rest of Wheaton. With all due respect, I think you are completely wrong about the money spent luring retailers to the Mall. There is little to no other interest to lure to Wheaton besides retailers, and Costco/DIcks will bring a ton of new traffic to the area that will help feed/attract other businesses. I don't see any better way for the County to invest in Wheaton to spur a turnaround. My comment about Wheaton being a 3rd tier market is not in any way meant to be an insult. That is just what it is. I do believe that the County will eventually focus on making something happen there. I just don't see the focus ever being as intense as it was in Silver Spring and thus, I expect a more gradual change occuring. Time will tell. My hope is that the new Costco station will prompt some of the far too many stations in the area to convert to other uses. I doubt anyone would not see that as an improvement.
Danila Sheveiko January 09, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Dear Strauchan, while you are obviously knowledgeable about the subject and skilled in rhetoric but, upon closer examination, your arguments don't hold any water. You support the millions of taxpayer cash forked over to Westfield for the Costco wing despite the miserable failure of the $6 million to attract Macy's - once they came in, Hecht's left, because they are both owned by the same corporation. Your support may seem reasonable on the surface, but facts bear out that Westfield Group received more County economic development fund dollars than any other company, or industry, for that matter. More than IT and BioTech combined. Is this really your idea of economic development in Montgomery County? Washington Metropolitan Area already ranks consistently in the top three cities with the worst traffic in the nation. To combat this issue, we have embraced the Smart Growth paradigm, aka Transit Oriented Development, and designated three Urban Districts in the County which would be the top priorities of this approach - Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Wheaton. The former two received hundreds of million in development dollars from County and State over the decades and got national-level projects like NOAA, Discovery Channel, AFI, FillMore Concert Hall, etc. The latter, Wheaton, a metro-served transit-oriented Urban Arts & Entertainment District in its own right, gets the busiest gas station in the County next to homes and kids on oxygen tanks. Is this really your idea for us?
Strauchan January 09, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Danila, "Is this (large gas station) really y our idea for us (Wheaton)? It's not my idea for Wheaton. I would be thrilled for Wheaton to blossom. But waving the magic SmartGrowth wand over it isn't going to do a thing. I don't think the Discovery Channel deal would have happened in Wheaton if twice the incentives were offered. NOAA originally moved to SS into a major spec building (built without a tenant in hand) that had capacity to triple in size. AFI was attracted to the historic Silver Theater. I don't think Wheaton was ever on the radar screen for any of those deals. Fillmore is more complicated but still falls in the same category. Without an incredibly compelling reason to come to Wheaton, the vast majority of future requirements will also never have Wheaton on their radar screens. Everyone wants to be in Bethesda. Rockville is the runner up. Silver Spring is usually option 3. Wheaton is virtually never up to bat. I'm talking corporate office needs here, not really retail. For retail it is largely the same except Wheaton at least has a shot. I don't in any way wish any harm on the children of the school, but I question why a school serving kids on oxygen tanks would choose to locate directly adjacent to a massive commercial complex that, even without a gas station, was far from the type of environment I would want my lung limited child to be spending time in. Continued
Strauchan January 09, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Be that as it may, I have driven and walked around the Beltsville Costco gas station and have never noticed any fumes or smells whatsoever beyond about 100-150 feet. Never noticed it around other large gas stations either (ie Sheetz or other Costco's). I view this as the "not in my backyard" mentality", which is understandable but unreasonable given that your backyard is a regional mall that was probably there 20-40 years before you (collectively speaking) bought your home. Personally, I like the idea of hiding an ugly gas station in the back parking lot of the Mall on a site that has no other viable use and hidden from view. And I think that locating a major gas station in a hub location is a green decision as we then should be eliminating a lot of trips to the station by people who are already at the mall for other reasons. From that perspective, we're improving the environment, not hurting it. Wheaton will live or die by what happens at the Mall. Costco and Dicks will draw lots of people to Wheaton who would otherwise never shop there. So will the gas station. The greatest benefactors are you, the people who live in the community, who will have better and more convenient amenities nearby and will take a step closer to a blossoming Wheaton. For the record, I am not a property or business owner in Wheaton, so I have nothing to gain or lose beyond access to some cheap gas.
Danila Sheveiko January 09, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Dear Strauchan, you seem to be a patient and thoughtful person, so it saddens me when you take your personal visit to the Beltsville gas station over existing science, policy, and statements from health experts. We cannot afford to abandon science, so I urge you to visit www.stopcostcogas.org and learn more about the actual facts at hand. Who knows, maybe your mind will change?
Strauchan January 10, 2013 at 12:12 AM
Danila, No offense intended, but I am sure that whatever I read on your website would be offset by whatever the Costco's experts and the EPA will say. I was at one of the hearings where I already experienced this. If, as you state, the existing science and policy didn't support a gas station in such a location, I have to believe the regulations wouldn't allow it. I don't know that for a fact, but I deal with real estate related regulations regularly, and they seem to always anticipate the worst case scenario. I hope I'm not wrong as I don't want anyone to have health issues, most certainly not some kids who are already dealing with something they shouldn't have to be dealing with. As far as the school, I just think it is a far better option for it to find a new and better suited location than to use it's disabled kids as an excuse to stop business that is being located where it is designed to and really should be located. I'm fairly disappointed that a school serving kids with major lung issues is located where it is to begin with. Forget the gas station for a moment. How about the fumes, dust and dirt generated by the massive quantity of cars driving into, around and by the mall? It seems like this would be the epicenter of smog and the least desirable spot to locate lung challenged kids.
ED January 10, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Strauchan - I didn't plan on continuing a conversation, but your last comments warrant a response. The school for special needs students, Stephen Knolls, did not locate next to a shopping center nor did many of the houses. The school was opened in 1958, many of the houses were built in the 1930's and 1940's and the mall opened in 1960. Up until recently, much of the mall was surrounded by parking lots - parking lots that were only filled on weekends for many years. If you have read any of the postings on Montgomery County schools, you'd also know there is scarcity of school sites in this County, so moving these students, because Costco wants a gas station, would be difficult to say the least. If you have dealt with real estate regulations, then you should be aware that the purpose of the zoning code is to promote the health, safety, and welfare of it's residents. Hopefully, the judge for the Special Exception will take this purpose clause into consideration.
Commentous January 10, 2013 at 02:58 AM
ED-Was the school a special needs school in 1960? Are most current homeowners ones who have been there since 1960 (or 1970 or 1980 for that matter)? Or was the mall there when they bought their homes? Obviously the Kenmont Pool (one football field away) and homes (40 yards away) could be impacted by the gas station, as Mr. Sheveiko expressed to the Examiner newspaper (http://washingtonexaminer.com/wheaton-costco-public-hearing-set-for-march/article/2516898#.UO4nGHdweJo). I agree with Mr. Sheveiko's view that the Macy's funding turned out to be a bust, but people wanted a Macy's or other somewhat-upscale retailer in the mall's dead zone for years. If the County or Westfield knew that Macy's would buy Mays (who owned Hecht's) within months of Macy's opening, no one would have pushed for Macy's. Personally, I wouldn't want a "mega" station in my backyard or near my community pool (if we had one in my community between the mall and Glenmont). As for the Stephen Knolls School, which is admittedly a special and important school, 850 feet just doesn't seem that close to me, though it's unclear where cars would idle. Even if there's idling, however, most would occur on weekends, and the school might not be open then. Anyone who lives on or near Georgia Avenue would seem to be at much greater risk of general, fume-related pollution than people nearly three football fields away.
ED January 10, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Commentous - As far as I know, Stephen Knolls was not a special needs school in 1960, it was an elementary school. At that time, many children with these types of disabilities were probably sent to schools such as the MARC day schools - Montgomery County Association for Retarded Children - or, unfortunately, institutionalized. I know there was one MARC day school adjacent to Newport Mill Middle School in the late 1960's. As far as the homeowner's around the Mall, some bought their homes prior to the Mall opening, some inherited their family homes and some bought them after. Up until very recently, the homes in Kensington Heights had a deep buffer area of trees and a large parking lot between their homes and the stores. If a realtor sold them the home, the purchasers were probably told to check the Sector Plan to see what may happen to the Mall. From 1978 until 2012, the Sector Plan designated the area as a regional shopping mall and the mall required ample parking for their retail square footage. That has changed - Westfield has gotten various reductions in their parking requirements since the Macy's proposal. As far as Macy's goes, the merger of the May company and Federated was underway when our County gave Westfield $6 million. From what I heard at the time, the County didn't know that the State had anti-trust laws that would require Hecht's to close if Macy's opened in Wheaton. Wheaton Macy's was to be the only Macy's in the County. So much for that $ 6 mill.
ED January 10, 2013 at 04:27 AM
Commentous - I'd like to add one more note to my prior comment. I don't believe this mega-gas station belongs within 1/2 mile of a Metro station anywhere in the County. If the County truly wants "Smartgrowth", then they should put their money where their mouth is.
Danila Sheveiko January 10, 2013 at 06:26 AM
Dear Strauchan, I really do wish you would spend a few minutes looking at the science instead of dismissing it as a he-said-she-said story and basing your assertions on a personal smell test at the Beltsville station. Unlike politics and legal matters where reality can be... relative, science deals with "measurable and systematic principles rather than intuition or natural ability," so please stop confusing people with personal smell tests and learn more about the science and actual issues at hand by visiting www.stopcostcogas.org
Danila Sheveiko January 10, 2013 at 06:44 AM
Dear Commentous, correct me if I am wrong but, with your assertions regarding the $6 million to Macy's debunked by Ed, your entire argument in support of Costco mega gas rests on dismissing the single-family residences because few of them retained the same owners since the 1960s, and dismissing the school with kids on oxygen tanks because it was originally built and operated as an elementary school, so somehow healthy kids deserve to huff gas fumes all day long?! I am urging you to keep an open mind and review the actual issues at www.stopcostcogas.org
Commentous January 10, 2013 at 04:48 PM
ED--the County could care less about Smartgrowth in Wheaton as far as I can tell. At the Triangle we'll get a government agency whose employees have an excess of agency-owned cars and who likely won't use Metro since they don't do that now. The sector plan calls for mixed use there too and discusses retail and residential, so the disregarded "plan" lacks much meaning to me. Danila--I don't think ED debunked all that much. Please show me any law or regulation that required Macy's to close one of its stores. It's an absurd proposition, but I do realize that laws can be absurd. My guess is that there was no point in the same company having two anchors in the same mall as they would cannibalize each other. Furthermore, ED previously told me that in 2003 the County agreed to the $6 million payment to build the parking deck now located near Macy's, so that came before the 2005 merger with May. Yes, there were talks for a couple of years, but that's all it was until 2005 when May's CEO resigned. Regarding the school, Danila, my points are that 850 feet doesn't seem that close, especially compared to the residences and the Kenmont pool, and that weekday idling may be limited. As for the other misunderstanding, I was responding to the previous irrelevant focus on when the houses and schools were built. Their location and the effects of pollution from a major gas station are relevant; whether they preceded the mall's existence isn't. I think we're on the same page on that.
ED January 10, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Commentous - I believe you are absolutely right that the County doesn't really care about Smartgrowth. Based on their actions, they are using it as a guise to convince the public that increased density and congestion are good. If they were serious, they would have put conditions on the Costco construction and the money to Westfield, such as an urban design and no gas station. As far as the May and Federated merger, talks began in 2002. If the County wanted to protect the best interest of the County taxpayers and the excuse for the $ 6 million was to promote Wheaton as the only shopping mall in the County with a Macy's, they should have put conditions that secured this promotion rather than only securing 400 free "walk-off" parking places. I have no idea which State law required that Hecht's close when Macy's opened, I only know what County employees told residents in various public forums. The history of the structures surrounding the mall was only to inform Strauchan that many of these structures were built and used prior to the mall opening and their current uses and sales were based on a totally different scenario than what you see now. Historically, parking requirements prevented structures from being built so close to the homes and school. As parking waivers have been approved, retail space and construction has expanded outward.
Strauchan January 10, 2013 at 07:06 PM
The timing of acquisition of the the houses in proximity to the mall it absolutely pertinent in that the buyers knowingly purchased homes directly adjacent to a major shopping mall. If I buy a house next to a site that is master planned for a nuclear power plant, do I then have the right to complain when the power plant is later built? The question becomes is a gas station a rightful use on the site and can it be proven that the gas station is, in fact, a health risk. All of the information on your website is great except for the fact that at the hearing, Costco had it's own experts who expressed opposing opinions to your experts. If you are honest, you must admit that none of us knows who is right or wrong as none of us are experts. If the County deems the station to meet the definition of an allowable use via special exception or otherwise, it meets the requirements set forth by the EPA and any other governing body controlling gas stations and there is no solid proof shown that there is a health threat posed, I don't see there being much of an argument. Lacking any of those three items, I agree that the station should not be allowed. The assumption set forth repeatedly is that the pro gas station group isn't concerned about the health risks. That is absolutely not true. It is that, as far as I understand it, there is contradicting testimony as to the threat, and the EPA regulations favor Costco. I could be totally wrong on this, but that is my understanding.
Danila Sheveiko January 10, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Dear Strauchan, to repeat - homes were here before the mall. People that bought homes later did so because of proximity to metro, in an Urban District that strives to be walkable and improve the environment through redevelopment. I repeat - we did not buy homes next to an industrial zone, which is what you are advocating for. We all support success of Westfield mall, and understand its autocentric nature, but when redevelopment on the mall occurs, it should be more green and less autocentric. Costco builds urban warehouses, including with Westfield, that are green, walkable, and don't destroy the value of adjacent property owners in Vancouver, and in California, more good projects are underway elsewhere. So why are you jamming this monstrosity here in Wheaton?! As per the science, your insistence to dismiss it with the he-said-she-said argument is sad. Comparing Costco's two-page health letter by Dr. Chase to the body of scientific evidence we have gathered from eminent scientists is akin to denying the human contribution to climate change just because a smattering of quaks financed by the fossil fuel industry cough up a two-page report or two. You asked about EPA? They have serious concerns about air quality impact on children's health when siting new schools within a 1,000 ft of gas station a quarter of the size proposed by Costco. Does this really carry less weight with you than a personal smell test in Beltsville?
Strauchan January 10, 2013 at 08:04 PM
The school is almost 3 football fields away from the gas station. None of us should ever be pumping gas again if at that distance there is a health hazard. Whatever incentive money has been paid out in the past to bring Macy's to Wheaton has no relation to the gas station debate. The fact remains that Wheaton is still a town in dire need of revitalization and the County was right in stepping up in the effort to lure Costco. It is easy to criticize after the fact, but I expect that Costco was leveraging opening a store here versus a hundred other locations and the County arm was twisted hard. How would you feel if the County had told Costco to pound sand and then Costco had Jack Kent Cooke'ed us and opened in Oxon Hill instead of Wheaton?
Danila Sheveiko January 10, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Dear Strauchan, you asked for the EPA guidance yourself but, when it did not appear to support your argument, you summarily dismissed it out of hand and went back to football fields and personal smell tests to justify your intent to jam the busiest gas station in Montgomery County next to single-family residences and a school for kids on oxygen tanks. As to the millions in taxpayer cash to Westfield for the Costco wing of mall, I will challenge you each time you change the argument each time your previous assertions are debunked. The point is that the County has historically spent more than half of the County's EDF dollars to benefit one retail company, Westfield Group, at the opportunity cost of stimulating whole industries like IT, BioTech, GreenTech, education, et cetera ad nauseum. Can you respond to this point, or will you change the subject again?
Strauchan January 10, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Danila, The ridiculous comments just keep coming. If the EPA guidlines didn't allow for this gas station, you wouldn't need to be creating a website and rallying the troops. It would be over and done with, case closed. Where did you ever get the idea that the IT, Biotech and education industry needed stimulation in Maryland. As far as I can see, those industries are already thriving in the County. Montgomery County is one of the top Biotech locations in the nation - what exactly do you see failing there? Johns Hopkins, UMD and Montgomery College all have campuses in the County. There are lots of IT companies also located in the County. We could do a better job chasing after the GreenTech industry, but that would have to follow the sign language training and ambulance sales industry objectives. Wheaton, on the other hand, is in dire need. You stimulate residential development via public transportation and amenities (such as restaurants and a nice Mall). There is next to no chance of stimulating major private sector office interest in Wheaton. The Mall is the center of retail action in Wheaton. Why would it be surprising to you or anyone else that the County throw the most economic incentive money at the most economically downtrodden location in the County, and do so in the only place that can attract any business/industry of significant value into Wheaton?
Danila Sheveiko January 11, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Dear Strauchan, if you think my comments are ridiculous, this may be a case of negative projection. Look it up. As to the merits of your new argument, you could not possibly be more wrong. The EPA School Siting Guidelines are just that - recommendations. You know why? Because it is the job of local government to legislate zoning and land use!!! Do you propose we change the U.S. Constitution to jam the busiest gas station in the County into the worst possible location in the County? This is getting embarassing... As to your economic development question, yes, I do find it surprising that our idea of economic development in the County is to subsidize a mall owned by the largest retail real estate property holder on Planet Earth. This is even more surprising considering that both the Macy's $6 million and the Costco $4 million came with no strings attached. While all other businesses receiving County EDF funds have to submit to a reporting and monitoring program and are mandated to create the jobs as promised, Westfield gets to skate every time. Can you rationalize this one to us? Don't change the subject now...
Strauchan January 11, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Danila, Does the EPA guidelines recommend against siting a gas station this close to a school or housing? Obviously not since that fact is not posted on your website. What I do see is a bunch of nonspecific or unrelated issues such as soot particles and vapor recovery system reports from China (China?? Really?). ie. I don't get the argument that soot particles are going to be a newly created problem when a max of 75 cars are added (with an average of far less) are idling in a parking lot with capacity for 6,500 cars and surrounded by busy major arteries. I don't know why, nor do I care why there were no strings attached to the Macy's/Costco incentives. I know Wheaton has been a dump for a very long time and desperately needs revitalization, and I am appreciative that the County is investing it's money there. The Mall was dead and now it is not. Thats a good thing in my world. " Do you propose we change the U.S. Constitution to jam the busiest gas station in the County...?? LOL. I didn't realize that the Constitution addressed gas station locations. I knew that James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and the gang were smart guys, but I never knew that they were so progressive that they addressed Wheaton, MD gas stations back in the 1700's. I'll bet George Washington pushed that part through so he could get a good deal on a gas fill up when he picked up his new big screen for the Mount Vernon man cave.
Commentous January 11, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Strauchan, Generally I agree with your statements about the mall, the overall benefits of Costco (which has led the mall to gain a good number of more reputable tenants), and the sad state of Wheaton as viewed from the perspective of strip malls. When I have spoken with some political aides/assistants after meetings, I've basically been told that the County finds redevelopment in Wheaton a difficult task because the County wants to balance redeveloping Wheaton with ensuring low-cost housing in Wheaton because lower- and middle-class people are priced out of other areas in our County. In other words, to maintain economic diversity overall in the County, we need to segregate people financially--or at least try to make sure that we maintain prices generally in the places that have stagnated in the first place. Even though I personally stated that I don't see 850 feet as being that close to a school in our densely packed County with many schools on or next to major roadways, I checked out the EPA gas siting recommendations (http://www.epa.gov/schools/siting/downloads/School_Siting_Guidelines.pdf). On page 59, the EPA recommends site-specific evaluations for gas stations distributing more than 3.6 million gallons (which would include Costco's) that would be within 1000 feet of a school. The recommendation links to page 49 to potential variables and mitigating factors that could be considered. I figured the more information, the better.
Commentous January 11, 2013 at 05:51 PM
ED--I heard that there was a problem with the cement cracking throughout the floor and that costly repairs to ameliorate the problem (because they couldn't just start over) had to be worked out financially between certain entities before they could be started.
Strauchan January 11, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Commentous, It recommends a site specific evaluation. So I stand corrected in that it is a maybe versus a clear yes or no answer. My apology. Thanks.
Danila Sheveiko January 11, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Strauchan, the EPA guidelines express a number of concerns when placing healthy kids a 1,000 ft from gas stations a quarter of the size you are trying to jam 850 ft from medically fragile kids with special needs, including oxygen tanks and ventilators. Is that not enough for you? The health risk estimate EPA used was for a hypothetical large 3.6 million gallon station that accounted only for cancer only from benzene, and did not account for any actual idling, while you are sticking us with a 12 million gallon station with space for 62 vehicles idling in queue at once. Is that not enough for you? What about carbon monoxide? What about nitrogen oxides? What about volatile organic compounds? What about particulate matter? What about asthma? What about the people that will have to live 125 ft away from this monstrosity you are trying to jam on us? Do you have any concern for them? You are grasping at straws, you continue to deny science, and you think that Wheaton is a dump that should be thankful to get the busiest gas station in Montgomery County. What else do you have to say? Bring it!
Strauchan January 11, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Danila, I failed organic chemistry in college, so you've got my head spinning with all of the big worded compounds you are referencing. While I try to recover, do you mind if we change the subject for a minute. Do you think that when Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation he mentioned anything about freedom for the slaves to buy cheap Costco gas in Wheaton? Being serious though. I have already said that I don't support anything that is known to be a health issue for anyone. Period. The jury is out as to whether or not that is the case. We'll see soon enough. It an issue is scientifically identified, then the station should and will be denied. Your website, which presents rather biased and exaggerated concerns, is not the definitive word on the issue. It is fairly easy to discern that the real issue is that you simply don't want the gas station in your back yard, and are using the kids with "ventilators and oxygen tanks" as your shield. Are there really any kids there using ventilators, or is this another exagerated claim? I certainly hope not as it really is not a healthy spot for them to be in. If, as you say, the science has truly identified a serious health risk, there would be no need for this debate as the issue would have already been shut down. The fact that it is still open for discussion suggests that that is another of your grossly exaggerated statements.
Danila Sheveiko January 11, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Strauchan, if you failed organic chemistry, how can you determine that our concerns are "biased" and "exaggerated?" Is there anything you won't say? Oh, wait, you have just put in doubt existince of kids on oxygen tanks and mechanical ventilators at Stephen Knolls, so that answers my question.
ED January 12, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Commentous - that is exactly what concerns me. My original impression was that there was some structural problem that was delaying the opening. When Dick's opened, my concern was that the County was allowing shopper's underneath some structural problem. Now, Dick's is open and the only report that I have read came from Costco. I don't know what is going on, whether Dick's Sporting Goods is a safe place to shop and I would prefer that some newspaper investigate the reason for the delay. It seems to me that DPS would be a good place to start.
Commentous January 12, 2013 at 05:35 AM
ED--Your concerns are understandable. No one wants to die under a pile of rubble. My understanding--which comes from someone who seemed to have knowledge, but I didn't corroborate the story with anyone else--was that the cement contractor left lots of cracks that would affect Costco's ability to use small vehicles to move products within the warehouse. It wasn't a safety issue but the floor couldn't meet specs that had been agreed upon and Costco couldn't work with the way the floor had been put down, so parties (that did not include the County) had to figure out a resolution they could all live with. Like your rumor, none of this has been verified, so someone could have been blowing smoke, but it's what I was told.
ED January 12, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Commentous - Thanks for your information. It would be really great if some reporter got to the bottom of what's really going on. The cement issue sounds par for the course. I believe the Macy's garage had similar problems when it was built.


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