Just When I Thought Costco Was In…

UPDATE to the following post (which I’m leaving up because you can’t delete the internets, plus why kill a good Godfather reference): it has been pointed out (thanks Chip) that in fact the council never agreed to the subsidy in the first place, so there is no reneging. I apologize for my confusion.

…they pull it back out?  Wheaton Patch reports on the possibility that the MoCo council may perform a Reverse Pacino and renege on their commitment to subsidize Costco’s arrival at Wheaton Westfield Mall.  I agree the subsidy may be somewhere between marginally too generous and completely unnecessary, and I remain ambivalent about the Costco (balancing convenience versus worse traffic) (the gas station has become a separate issue, happily), but I worry it will be bad for business/future Wheaton redevelopment if the council demonstrates a willingness to back out of existing agreements.  Unclear for now how serious the council is, or whether a reversal would cause Costco to say buh-bye to Wheaton.

7 responses to “Just When I Thought Costco Was In…

  1. Glad that you are happy about the gas station issue becoming separated, but the community still has to battle what is slated to be the busiest retail fueling operation in the entire County shoehorned amidst single-family residences next to an outdoor community swimming pool, with estimated 12,000,000 gallons in annual sales, 3-4 tanker truck refuelings per day, 210 fill-ups per hour, upwards of 75 vehicles idling in queue at once. Daily air emissions just from the idling alone are estimated at a ton of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter. To add insult to injury, the Costco gas station does not have a Disaster Scenario Plan because they consider the probability of a leak or fire too remote on the account of having “blow-out preventers” and some such. Of course, just last year, a BP station blew up in Mt. Pleasant and a Getty station right here in Kensington had a spill big enough to shut down railroad traffic.

  2. As far as the Costco store itself, I was originally excited to hear about it. Unfortunately, Westfield/Costco got a grandfather loophole waiver for Environmental Site Design, and an exemption from the Forest Conservation Plan, and do not have to file a traffic study or even a site plan, while already slated to received millions in tax credits from County and State because Wheaton is an Enterprise Zone. The store is estimated to draw 20,000 vehicles daily – does Wheaton have a plan to handle it all?

  3. Hey Please stop buying into the “we had a deal” syndrome or saying that the county is “backing out of a deal”. A deal like this requires the councils approval, not a shake of the hands, a wink wink or nod from The County Executive.

    Simply put if Ike says he is gonna buy ya drinks don’t order top shelf til you get the councils approval. That check requires more than one signature!

  4. Thanks Chip, I admit I am not immersed in all the details of the Costco issue, but according to the Examiner article, “Leggett pushed the contentious deal through the previous council” — which implies the previous council signed off on it. Not true? I’m having trouble finding clear media accounts one way or the other, and all I remember are the public hearings and discussions. Was the Examiner wrong, or imprecise? They were sure right about the “contentious” part…

  5. Eatin- he took a “straw pole” of the council last January. There was no vote on the subsidy. There was to be a vote on the ZTA but after all of the neighborhood opposition and the upcoming election the council chose not to vote on the ZTA, but to go back to Costco and ask that they go through zoning. Personally I think the neighborhood opposition had a lot to do with the councils uturn but I think a bigger factor is also the new budget. It has a whole bunch of cuts in it (Fireman Salaries , Schools, Bus Service, Ambulances and Libraries) I don’t think our elected officials want to cut these services, then turnaround and hand Westfield 4 million for another big box store.

  6. Got it. Thanks. Will post an update to my post.

  7. KHCA Official Position: We are not opposed to the Costco gas station if it is moved to the other side of the plaza on Viers Mill Road; We are not opposed to the Costco store and $4M if community concerns are addressed. Right now Costco is not even talking to the community because we are so “unreasonable” about the biggest gas station in the County right next to our pool and back yards.

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