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Planning Department Staff Report Recommends Against Costco's Mega Gas Station

The report says the station could “create adverse health impacts for residents.”

On Thursday, February 28, the County's five-member Planning Board will vote whether or not to support the zoning exception needed for the mega gas station Costco wants to build at Wheaton Plaza. This vote is not the end of the County's decision process but could be an important influence on the ultimate decision makers. Planning Department professional staff have written a report to help Board members decide how to vote. As a station opponent I found this statement on page 1 heartening: “Staff recommends denial of the proposed special exception request.”

The Costco station would have space for 45 cars to idle while they wait to fill up. The potential health impacts of fumes from those idling cars is a principal motivation for the staff recommendation. Here's some of what they had to say:

“Applicant's analyses and assertion of no adverse health impacts is based on insufficient information, and may have understated the exposure of the adjacent population to some of the toxics.” (p. 2)

“Staff also disagrees with the Applicant's cancer risk analysis . . . we question the Applicant’s low assessment of residential exposure rates to these carcinogens.” (p. 2)

A carbon monoxide hotspot will be created that is “similar to those created at intersections. However, unlike an intersection hotspot, which dissipates over a wider area, the hotspot created with this gas station will not dissipate as quickly” (p. 12)

“the Applicant only considered the Mall property as its neighborhood, which disregarded the effect . . . on the residential homes” (p. 14)

“the effects of the Wheaton air quality hotspot will be extended into the adjacent residential community. The proposed gas station will constitute a nuisance because of fumes at the subject Site” (p. 22)

You can find information on participating in the Planning Board meeting where the vote will take place here. The staff report and its appendices are available at the same link, I also uploaded a copy of the report to this blog posting for your use.

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.

Mike Smith February 19, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Another reason to oppose the Costco gas station is that the outfall draining the area on the east side (near the LA Fitness) has been found have problems with illegal discharges. The Center for Watershed Protection has identified it as one of four problem outfalls in the Sligo Creek watershed. You can see the four problem outfalls on the Friends of Sligo Creek webpage at http://www.fosc.org/AL-CWPSligo20110111.htm. A camera crew from the Department of Tranportation started to investigate it but it is pretty complicated. Building a gas station near this outfall where the links aren't well known may lead to more illegal discharges.
Ktown mom February 19, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Costco also didn't consider Stephen Knolls School whose students can medically fragile with some on respirators. Stephen Knolls is a public school and absolutely deserves consideration here. Its students attend up to 11 months per year and some students go to Stephen Knolls for their entire school career. Planning Board, turn down the gas station request and keep everyone safe!
L.J. February 21, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Great blog! I am happy that the planning board does not approve of the Costco Gas Station. There is no need for the gas station so close to residential homes!

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