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Montgomery County Planning Board Considers Costco Gas Station

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Costco's plans call for a gas station dozens of yards from community amenities like a tennis court and pool.
Costco's plans call for a gas station dozens of yards from community amenities like a tennis court and pool.

The Montgomery County planning board is debating whether to recommend a bill in the county council regarding where large gas stations can be built. At issue is a Costco "mega" discount gas station at the Wheaton Mall.

Residents around the mall say where Costco wants to build the station is too close to their homes, believing air pollution will rise to dangerous levels from the large amount of idling cars waiting to get gas. The council bill would force such large stations to be at least 1,000 feet from houses. Costco's plan would place the station less than 350 feet from the Kensington Heights neighborhood. 

Speaking to the planning board, Jeff Aschida of Costco says they will build a greenscreen wall to protect the neighborhood from the fumes. "The gas station will not be visible in any manner from the surrounding neighborhood, unless a resident was standing on their roof," says Aschida. "Nor will any odor, fumes, noises or illumination be detected on the residential homes or the community pool."

Regardless of what the planning board recommends, the final decision lies with the county council. The bill already has five co-sponsors, enough to pass it should it come to a vote.

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