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Costco to Hold Open House for Gas Station Discussion

The April 25 open house will be held at Crossway Community in Kensington.

Erich Brann accurately describes the Costco gas station as a "lightning rod." 

Brann, Costco's director of real estate development, came to the to explain how Costco envisions its gas station and how it is trying to gain community support.

The Kensington Heights Civic Association, which represents the neighborhood bordering the proposed gas station site at , has led the opposition.

Last week, it announced the findings of a Johns Hopkins professor about the , particularly regarding cancer risk.

Costco and Westfield are inviting the community to an at in Kensington. Brann said that all the consultants involved with the project will attend and answer questions. The gas station is currently in the special exception process, and the Planning Board is scheduled to meet on May 17. Public hearings before the Hearing Examiner will follow on June 4, 8, 11, and 15 in Rockville.

Brann acknowledges that one of the biggest concerns expressed by KHCA is the number of cars that will be idling as they wait in line to fuel up, likely 36 at a time. The gas station can handle 240 cars per hour, Brann said.

KHCA members say they're concerned about the gas station's close proximity to a residential neighborhood, the , and the for special needs students. 

Some members of the Montgomery County Council agree.

“I think the idea of putting a huge gas station that will create a long line of idling vehicles right next to an neighborhood and a swimming pool is utterly abhorrent,” Councilmember Hans Riemer told the Gazette. “It’s bad for environmental and public health plans. I think it’s bad from the perspective of the long term future of the urban core of Wheaton, which needs to become a place where walking and biking is more common.”

But Costco is soldiering on with determination.

"We have to prove to them that there's no reason for concern," Brann said.

MocoLoco April 15, 2012 at 02:00 AM
TaL--Costco is coming irrespective of whether it gets approval for the gas station. It will do very well at that site, because it will attract the people who used to go to Gaithersburg (with the bumpy parking garage) or Beltsville (which has ridiculous gas lines filled with people who are saving $0.20 on a $70 fill-up, compared to the cost of filling up at nearby stations. Yes, they idle in line for 15-20 minutes to save less than a dollar. This is what Kensington Heights neighbors properly take exception to. Much rather than being a public convenience, a Costco gas station there will be a public nuisance.
TaL April 15, 2012 at 02:36 AM
MocoLoco- Costco already stopped work once and was ready to pull out after the Council passed the living wage bill. It took personal assurances from Ervin and Legget to get them to stay. Elrich bill specifically targets them. If I were a major corporation and saw the recent destruction of the BF Saul deal, and already had one attempt to shut me down by legislative fiat occur, I would think long and hard about not walking away from the entire mess. I mean who knows what other brilliance the Council will inflict?
Bill Burns April 15, 2012 at 04:03 AM
TaL- Wow! Where does one even start with statements like this? Once again, just take a look at the photos. The area around this Costco is clearly residential as opposed to the other local Costco's which are in warehouse and/or industrial areas. People will be living within 50 yards of this Costco! As a 30 year resident of Wheaton, I have never found it to be sleepy or a backwater and I am fairly certain that most people who live in Wheaton consider themselves something other than low income. I know my neighbors and I do. While I fully realize that Costco is coming, insult does not need to be added to injury by building a mega gas station. Also, Costco will not be "killed off", nor will they ever walk away from the "entire mess". This location, bordered by six lane highways, is way too good for them to pass up and they will suck millions of dollars out of the local economy, with or without the gas station.
TaL April 15, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Bill- You have me confused. Either this is a suitable commercial site being bordered by 6 lane highways and all (thats not what Id call University or Viers Mill, but your terms not mine) or its a horrible residential site. You live in what is much more "Kensington East" than Wheaton. The downtown core of Wheaton has the highest density of public housing projects in the county. Which is why Im also confused as to what Costco will suck out of the local economy? They dont provide wire transfer services, check cashing, pupusas, or single sales of wine and beer which seem to be the main economic drivers in Wheaton at the moment. Dont be as blind as the Council and think that business wont walk away from our clown colony of anti-business pro-union pro-stupid growth regulation and high taxes. All you have to do is ask where is the Wegmans? Walmart? Lockheed? Howard Hughes? etc to see what the county has done in recent years to drive away business or prevent them from comming in the first place. Like I said, they nearly quit once http://www.gazette.net/article/20111031/NEWS/710319992/westfield-wheaton-puts-costco-project-on-hold&template=gazette They will do it again....and frankly Wheaton needs Costco far more than it needs a few Kensington Heights NIMBYs. Unfortuneatly, this being MoCo the NIMBYs will win.
ED April 15, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Tal - you are confused. Westfield Wheaton is the biggest economic driver in Wheaton, that's why the County has given them $ 8 million in the past 6 years and will probably give them another $ 2 million. Costco is not going anywhere, regardless of whether they get the gas station or not and they will make millions. As far as Walmart, Westfield Wheaton actually stated at one point that Costco was far better than the big "W" (Walmart). Westfield decides which stores come to Wheaton, not the County. Wegman's have stores in Montgomery County, only Westfield knows why they chose Costco over Wegman's for their vacant Hecht's store. Howard Hughes is dead, but both Hughes Communications and Lockheed Martin are still in Montgomery County. I don't live in Kensington Height's, but I'm thankful that they have been diligent in their fight against this mega-gas station. I can't believe any honest resident in this County could say "put this mega-gas station next to my house, my pool, or my school". I don't think Elrich's bill specifically targets Costco, I think no one ever dreamed of a mega-gas station so close to recreation centers or schools until the Costco proposal.

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