Costco is coming to Wheaton, regardless of whether the county approves its 16-pump gas station. This news was transmitted from Costco attorneys to county officials earlier this week after Costco officials said for several months the gas station would make or break their decision to bring a Costco wholesale store to Westfield Wheaton mall.
"There will be a Costco in Wheaton," said county spokesman Patrick Lacefield. "The only question is whether it will have a gas station or not have a gas station. They're prepared to move ahead whichever way it goes." County Executive Isiah Leggett proposed in March fast-tracking zoning approvals on the gas station because he feared the standard, lengthier zoning process might cause the county to lose the Costco deal that could reinvigorate the struggling shopping center. But many neighbors — some of whom live 150 feet from the proposed station — adamantly opposed the gas station, saying the environmental, traffic and sound impacts were unreasonable.
Now, county officials and Costco representatives have reached an agreement, Lacefield said. Costco will no longer seek the accelerated approvals, he said. Instead, the wholesaler will pursue the lengthier route of going through the Planning Board, the Board of Appeals and the Council. This route usually takes nine months to a year, and the applicant must prove that there is a need for their project in the community, said Montgomery's director of the department of economic development Steve Silverman. SOURCE: Gazette