Costco's application for a proposed gas station at its store in Wheaton will be reviewed in March, and residents are complaining that might be too soon.
The proposed gas station, which would have 16 pumps on slightly less than an acre of land, has been an item of contention for developers and the residents. Those who want to formally complain have until Jan. 15 to file with the Montgomery County Planning Board to ensure those concerns become part of the board's staff report. An opposition group said that does not give it enough time to file a detailed complaint.
An original plan for the gas station was shot down in September because of its proximity to a local swimming pool, but the company submitted a revised plan that moved the gas station farther to the east.
Members of the Stop Costco Gas Coalition say they received the more than 500-page application in early December and are struggling with the time limit to create a response that will be included in the county Planning Department's staff recommendation.
The group plans to meet with county planning staff next week to discuss the development.
Dan Sheveiko, a member of the coalition, said residents have been fighting Costco and the county on the proposed development for the past three years, as it is too close to the Kenmont Swim & Tennis Club in Kensington Heights, causing a potential health concern to residents. They also claim traffic congestion will continue to plague the Wheaton Plaza area if construction continues.
"They are sticking this gas station ... between single-family homes," Sheveiko said. "This is very bad for the neighbors in that area."
Renee Kamen, a planner in the review division of the Planning Department, said the dates in March for the hearings are not set in stone and can be delayed if something changes with the application. She said that for those wanting to testify at the public hearing -- which will not be included in the staff report -- testimony needs to be filed by at least March 1.