Mega Gas Stations and our Neighborhoods
May 24, 2012
I recently asked to co-sponsor Zoning Text Amendment 12-07, drafted by Councilmember Marc Elrich. This measure would prohibit new gas stations dispensing more than 3.6 million gallons of fuel per year from being located less than 1,000 feet from any public or private school or any park, playground, or hospital, or other public use, or any use categorized as a cultural, entertainment and recreation use.
I support the intent of this amendment. There is no reason why mega-gas stations should be located next to playgrounds, parks, pools or any recreational facilities used by children. That said, the amendment would not rid the county of any existing gas stations. It would only prevent new ones from being so located. That’s a reasonable thing to do.
One parcel that would be covered by the amendment is the proposed Costco gas station in
. If built, this station would be the biggest in the county. It would have 16 bays with multiple lines of cars waiting to fill up. According to my estimates from discussions with Costco, it would result in about 1,000 people a day driving strictly to the gas station. It would be right next to the Kenmont Swim andTennis Club, an important community recreation center. And it would be in the same vicinity as 27 other gas stations that already serve the local area. Wheaton
My concern is that any added value of the gas station is more than offset by the resulting problems inflicted on local residents; as well as increased auto traffic in an urban core where walking should be a higher priority.