Montgomery Co. rejects jumbo Costco gas station

ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County has rejected a bid from Costco to build a 16-pump mega gas station at its Westfield Wheaton Mall location.

The Montgomery County Board of Appeals issued its decision rejecting the plan after a brief discussion and vote Wednesday morning.

During discussion before the vote, board members said that Costco failed to make its case that the large-scale gas station was a good fit for the location.

The decision by the board comes after a five-year battle that pitted local activists against Costco’s team of lawyers.

“I think what you’ve seen is that a well-prepared group of amateurs can defeat the big boys when you’re right,” Karen Cordry, president of the Kensington Heights Civic Association, told reporters.

Danila Sheveiko, immediate past president of the Kensington Heights Civic Association and a member of the Stop Costco Gas Coalition,was pleased, but not entirely relieved by the decision.

“Costco has deep pockets,” Sheveiko said. He noted that during the discussion there were statements made indicating it’s likely that Costco will appeal the decision.

“They struck out time and time again. And in baseball, three strikes and you’re out. But Costco does not seem to learn their lesson,” Sheveiko said. He remains “on guard” about any future moves by the wholesaler.

Attorneys for Costco left the hearing without commenting to reporters. Contacted by phone after the meeting, Eric Brann, director of real estate development for Costco, said simply he couldn’t comment besides saying that Costco is “very disappointed” by the Board of Appeals’ decision. Asked if a legal appeal was likely, Brann said he couldn’t comment at this time.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report from Rockville.

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