Md. panel votes to limit where large gas stations can be built

WASHINGTON — The Montgomery County Council has approved a zoning text amendment to limit where large gas stations can be constructed in the county.

With an 8-1 vote, the panel decided that large gas stations — those pumping more than 3.6 million gallons of gas per year — have to be 500 feet from public and private schools, parks, playgrounds, recreational areas, homes and environmentally sensitive areas.

Councilman Hans Riemer said the decision shouldn’t be seen as a ban. Instead, “there will still be room” for large gas stations in areas that are planned more expansively.

The council’s vote doesn’t directly affect Costco’s attempt to build a 16-pump gas station in Wheaton. Residents in the Kensington Heights neighborhood have fought nearly five years to stop Costco from constructing the station next to its community.

The Montgomery County Board of Zoning Appeals found the plans incompatible with the site. Costco has since appealed the decision.

Donna Savage, chairwoman of the Kensington Heights Civic Association’s Land Use Committee, said she hopes the new zoning text amendment prohibits Costco from building its station.

Rob Leuck, Costco Wholesale vice president for operations, issued the following statement about Tuesday’s Montgomery County Council vote on the zoning text amendment regarding the proposed gas station at Westfield Wheaton Shopping Center:

“We look forward to the Montgomery County Circuit Court’s ruling on our appeal of the denial by the County Board of Appeals of our request for a special exception to build the Westfield Wheaton Shopping Center gas station.”

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

© 2015 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up