Deadline Passes for Costco To Appeal Ruling Squashing Plans for 16-Pump Gas Station in Wheaton

Critics of station proposal celebrate end to protracted legal fight


Published:

Opponents of a plan to build a large Costco gas station at the Westfield Wheaton mall are rejoicing at the conclusion of a protracted legal battle.

Costco earlier this year was unable to persuade the Maryland Court of Special Appeals that Montgomery County officials unfairly prevented it from building the 16-pump fueling station. The company could’ve appealed the ruling but had not done so by the May 31 deadline, according to a spokesman for the Maryland judiciary.

The news that Costco hadn’t appealed the decision was a welcome one for the Stop Costco Gas Coalition and the Kensington Heights Civic Association, both of which had fought the station plans.

“In this day of endless defeat, we stood up to bullying,” Abigail Adelman, chair of the Stop Costco Gas Coalition, said in a prepared statement. “I will always be proud of our incredible effort.”

The residents had argued the station would’ve been incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood because of the traffic and fumes it would bring. The proposed station’s proximity to the Kenmont swimming pool and the Stephen Knolls School, a public school that serves developmentally disabled children and young adults, also caused concern.

Graphic showing the proposed location of the gas station in relation to other properties. Courtesy of Stop Costco Gas Coalition.

“KHCA is committed to supporting the school community in our area. We were glad and incredibly grateful to work with parents at Stephen Knolls Elementary School to address concerns regarding harmful effects that would have adversely affected students already dealing with complex health issues,” Shruti Bhatnagar, who chairs the education committee for the civic association, said in a prepared statement.

Costco Wholesale Corp. had initially filed its application to build the station in 2010, but later withdrew its submittal and offered a new proposal three years later. A county hearing examiner recommended denying the application following a series of hearings that spanned 17 months. The Montgomery County Board of Appeals adopted the recommendation in April 2015.

Costco challenged the appeals board decision, but a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge and later the Maryland Court of Special Appeals sided against the company.

An attorney for Costco did not return a call requesting comment.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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