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WRAC Remains Neutral on Costco Gas Station

GreenWheaton is also remaining unofficially neutral.

The Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee voted at its May meeting to for a gas station at . 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, . 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.

Esther French (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 06:17 PM
What do you think of WRAC's neutral position on the Costco gas station? Is it justified, or should they pick a side? Are they being responsible and diplomatic, or just avoiding one of Wheaton's most controversial issues?
Mike Smith June 21, 2012 at 09:20 PM
If WRAC can't agree that the gas station poses health risks, why not oppose the mega gas station because it is incompatible with mass transit and smart growth as they do apparently agree? As a resident of Wheaton, I am genuinely curious what WRAC is doing. Downtown Wheaton is not going to have a library (as Rockville, Silver Spring, and Bethesda have) but may have a mega gas station.
jenny June 22, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Very very good point. Nevermind the health risks, and potential pollution from idling cars, more traffic, runoff, and the station itself -it's just bad planning. It's unnecessary in every possible way - except Costco's bottom line. I am also a Wheaton resident and I think it's ridiculous that they don't take a position on this based on this point.
MG Kemp Mill June 22, 2012 at 01:47 PM
They can't agree it poses health risks because they are not health experts, and it is likely that health experts won't say that this particular gas station poses any more health risks than any other. Adding one gas station is not going to stop mass transit or smart growth. This issue is being blown way out of proportion.
Mike Smith June 22, 2012 at 02:15 PM
If you and your neighbors in Kemp Mill are in favor of a mega gas station, why not put the mega gas station in Kemp Mill and endorse moving the library to downtown Wheaton?
Alex Danesh June 25, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I am hoping that WRAC consider the health issue of the tax payers first, not just to maximize the profit of big corporations with deep pockets. The responsible people Know that nothing can compensate the air pollution which will be created by Mega stations in that close proximity to residential area.

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