Lukewarm response for Costco mega gas station

WASHINGTON – Cheap gas is a luxury many drivers would gladly welcome. But some Montgomery County residents say having a mega gas station close to home is too much of a good thing.

Kensington Heights Civic Association treasurer Karen Cordrey is adamant that her group isn’t opposed to Costco coming into the Westfield Shopping Town site in Wheaton.

“We certainly don’t object to Costco,” she says. “there is a lot of support in the community.”

What they don’t want the retailer’s giant gas station. The size and scale of the proposed project – with 16 pumps – is raising hackles.

“They intend to pump 12 millions of gallons a year, which is about six to eight times the size of a traditional gas station and is by far the biggest one that would be in the county,” Cordrey says.

But the group has environmental concerns they feel were legitimized after hiring an environmental consultant to check over the plans.

Henry S. Cole, says the studies submitted about possible environmental impacts of the project underestimate the potential negative effects, including impact air quality and human health.

Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich sponsored a bill that would change the county’s zoning regulations, effectively banning a so called mega gas station. His colleague, Nancy Navarro, agrees with citizens who like the idea of Costco coming in, but don’t want the super-sized gas station.

“That location simply doesn’t work,” she says.

Elrich and Navarro are joined by councilmembers Valerie Ervin, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer in supporting a zoning amendment that would bar all mega gas stations in the county. A hearing is set for June 19 at 7:30 p.m.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow Kate Ryan and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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