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Zoning Text Amendment Would Affect Costco Gas Station

Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich is the lead sponsor.

A new zoning text amendment that would affect the special exceptions process for gas stations in Montgomery County was introduced at Tuesday’s county council session.

The zoning text amendment would apply to gas stations that process more than 3.6 million gallons of fuel per year. The proposed gas station at the Wheaton Costco would process an anticipated 12 million gallons of fuel per year.

Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Valerie Ervin and Nancy Navarro are sponsoring ZTA 12-07. (Update: Councilmember Craig Rice has also been added as a co-sponsor.) A public hearing will be scheduled for June 19 at 7:30 p.m.

The ZTA’s language would direct the Board of Appeals to examine if the gas station would negatively affect the neighborhood regarding noise, fumes, and traffic.

In addition, the ZTA would require the gas station to be located “at least 1,000 feet from any public or private school, or any park, playground, or hospital, or other public use, or any use categorized as a cultural, entertainment and recreation use.”

The proposed Costco gas station would be located 300 feet from the .

Commentous April 19, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Dan and Danila--My focus is the "redevelopment" more than the gas station issue. Nevertheless, I see a difference in a humongous filling station and a busy station a fraction of the size. I'm not sure we need legislation for every decision, as this could certainly be construed as a nuisance, but that's a question for another day. Though I don't support the station, I support Costco coming to Wheaton. I do not believe Westfield Wheaton would be on the upswing if there hadn't been the expectation of Costco by other businesses who came into a mall that was decidedly not on the upswing. Perhaps community distaste dissuaded Costco in some places, but Bruce Lee of LDG gave different reasons on the "just up the pike" blog for Costco not coming to Aspen Hill specifically: "[S]everal years ago we did negotiate with Costco for the BAE/Vitro site. We got very close to a final deal and three things happened. 1) The site was too small for what Costco needed. 2) We did not want another gas station added to Aspen Hill. 3) The Wheaton location suddenly presented itself as an alternative location. We lost out which happens in our business." Finally, I think we all hope that value can be gained from our A&E designation. We've had that designation for about 6 of its 10 years so far and have not been able to leverage it much (http://wheaton-md.patch.com/articles/reevaluating-wheaton-s-artistic-designation-to-boost-economy). There's still some time fortunately.
ED April 20, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Tal - you're right, the law is written so that unrelated people can not live there, so everyone in the house claims they are related. I have the same problem in my neighborhood. That's the problem with the law. To me, the law should be changed rather than the planners making these "accessory apartments' allowed "by-right" (legal). If they can't control the illegal ones, how in the world are they going to control the "legal" ones? Personally, I did not spend the money I spent to buy a single-family home in Montgomery County to have the County change the law so that every single-family neighborhood is now a multi-family neighborhood.
Danila Sheveiko April 20, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Dear Commentous: I agree with you about redevelopment. I also agree we should work together with Westfield in making Wheaton a better place. However, I don't think we should be spending millions of taxpayer cash to subsidize Westfield Wheaton's antiquated, un-competitive business model that does not mesh with the CBD and requires constant cash infusions from the taxpayer. Ed Murtagh said the other month - if you want to exacerbate a problem, then subsidize it. Westfield has some forward-thinking retail properties, but they will keep Wheaton Plaza a nexus of big-box stores as long as we pay them to. As to your Aspen Hill comment, our site is also too small for what Costco needs as well, with people trying to walk to the metro and nighttime loading docks right next to residences. And we certainly don't want the gas station. So what's the difference?! LDG vs Westfield. I guess we now know which one has a stronger lobby.
MJ April 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM
I would just like to say.. All you complaining about Costco and can trust what they say, Don't know enough about Costco.. I would say you do a little more research on how that company operates.. It's doesn't operate like shady Walmart... Secondly Costco would employee 200 plus Jobs, so be happy.. with the out of job rate I would think you would want this... Oh and their pay/benefits are above the average... City Taxes.... again helping the city..... Again do more research and weight out the Pros and the Cons. Maybe just maybe if your paying to much for gas bringing a Costco Gas station might just lower price's for all.
Danila Sheveiko April 26, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Dear MJ: As someone who touts "research", your assertions are just plain incorrect, factually. I am not out here to bash Costco, but if you actually do a Google search on their corporate track record, a very different picture emerges. Are you sure you are not a Costco PR person? Also, if they will create some many jobs, why was the jobs clause deleted from the County $4 million grant? Why do all the small and medium business receiving taxpayer assistance have to report on job creation, but Westfield and Costco get to skate? Finally, what "city" taxes are you talking about?!

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