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Costco Gas Station Opponents Say They Need More Time

The Kensington Heights Civic Association says that Costco has not provided enough time to review amended documents for the gas station special exception.

With the special exception hearings for the Costco gas station fast approaching, the Kensington Heights Civic Association is concerned that it will not have enough time to review revised documents submitted by Costco earlier this month, putting the KHCA at a disadvantage.

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Yesterday, the KHCA filed a legal request asking the Zoning Hearing Examiner to remove all the amended documents from the record, or to grant a “motion of continuance” to postpone these hearings in order to have more time to review the new documentation. The KHCA first asked for this motion of continuance on April 19 after learning of the amended documents.

What are these new documents? They include “more than 80 pages of supplemental correspondence,  amended expert reports, updated environmental and other studies,” as well as “..nearly 2.5 pounds of large drawings,” according to the April 24 legal request.

The hearing dates before the Zoning Hearing Examiner are currently scheduled for June 4, 8, 11 and 15. However, the Planning Board will review the application first at a May 17 hearing. Planning Board staff policy is to provide a final report approximately 10 days before the hearing.

But even if the added material is stricken from the record, the damage may have already been done, the Kensington Heights Civic Association’s legal counsel writes:

“It is difficult to imagine how one can “unring the bell” with respect to Park and Planning staff’s view of the pending special exception application. While one can purge the record of these materials, there is no way to ensure that staff’s analysis and recommendations have not been influenced by the supplemental materials that the Applicant [Costco] filed, given the fact that staff has had more than two weeks to review and evaluate the new information during the final days of its analysis.”

The Wheaton and Kensington communities will have the opportunity , organized by Westfield and Costco. The open house starts at 7 p.m. at Crossway Community in Kensington.

MocoLoco April 25, 2012 at 06:48 PM
GinWheaton--you understand that the original hearing was delayed (almost a year, I think), at *Costco*s request? There is nothing to "see through" here. Costco wants to put in a gas station, and is having a very difficult job making a facially reasonable case for putting one where it is not currently permitted.
A man I April 25, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Aside from this Costco Gas Station being a "NEED" in Mont.Co., as I don't like having to drive to their store in Beltsville (being a resident of Mont.Co. - Rockville), it would be equally nice if they would add a Gas Station @ their Gaithersburg Store !! ... can't wait for a store on Rockville Pike ... maybe !??!
MocoLoco April 25, 2012 at 08:30 PM
The question that Costco needs to answer is whether there is a public benefit to having a 28th (by Costco's count) gas station in this vicinity. (And, remember, the "public" can't get gas at this 28th station--only people who pay Costco's annual membership fee can do so.)
Danila Sheveiko April 26, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Dear A man I: How can there be a need, if there are 33 gas stations within 7 minute drive?
Danila Sheveiko April 26, 2012 at 05:28 PM
GinWheaton: Costco postponed the Special Exception three (3) times. Why can't the community ask for just one continuance when Costco submits a bunch of documentation at the last minute without informing the parties involved? Surely this would be only fair, right?

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