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Costco Subsidy Passes Council

Status of possible gas station will not be resolved until the fall.

Update, 11:30 a.m., May 17:

Three councilmembers, Council President Valerie Ervin (D-District 5), Hans Riemer (D-At Large), and Craig Rice (D- District 2) as opposed to the subsidy voted against a motion to dismiss the subsidy from the Economic Development Fund on Monday. They joined Councilmembers Nancy Floreen (D-At Large), George Leventhal (D-At Large) and Roger Berliner (D-1st District) who supported the subsidy last year.

Councilmembers Marc Elrich (D-At Large), Nancy Navarro (D-District 4) and Phil Andrews (D-District 3), voted for the motion.

The Department of Economic Development's full recommendation to the council is available in the media box above.

Original Story, May 16: Despite appearing in trouble when several council members said they opposed giving $4 million over two years to Westfield for construction of a new Costco at the Wheaton mall, the subsidy passed Montgomery County Council by a vote of 6 to 3.

Wheaton Patch will update tomorrow with more on the council's vote.

This story has been updated to clarify the vote was a motion to remove the Costco subsidy from the Economic Development Fund.

Danila Sheveiko May 18, 2011 at 07:50 PM
This project includes a Costco gas station, slated to be the busiest fueling operation in the entire County, being shoehorned next to an outdoor community swimming pool and single-family residences. The project also got a waiver for Environmental Site Design and an exemption from Forest Conservation Plan, and is not required to even file a site plan or a traffic study.
bv May 19, 2011 at 09:09 PM
You know, I think this is a very interesting debate re: the gas station and the $4M subsidy. But Danila, it's really not useful to the debate when you include things that are simply not facts. You say "This project includes a Costco gas station" ... but it CLEARLY states in the document (see page 3) "the gas station is not part of the $4,000,000 and the gas station project is now a special exception to be decided by the Board of Appeals." Please get your facts right if you want us to consider your arguments!!!
Danila Sheveiko May 25, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Dear bv, Are we subsidizing the Costco development? Yes. Is Costco planning for a gas station? Yes. Let me get this straight - you are answering No to either one of these questions? Did not think so... The store and gas station are only treated separately in the anti-reality world of PR, to make it easier on the Council, but the Westfield/Costco plans are otherwise unamended. Once thing is to repeat their propaganda, but it is quite another to attack facts themselves. I thought you to be a reasonable person.
bv May 27, 2011 at 01:32 PM
Danila, I can only go by what I read. Whether it's PR or not, the reality is that the $4m is NOT for the gas station. They are separate things. It is entirely possible that the $4m will subsidize the Costco development and the Board of Appeals will turn down the gas station. I'm not by any means trying to repeat propaganda. I'm just trying to understand the facts of the situation.
Stowe Locke Teti May 28, 2011 at 10:06 AM
This decision highlights the minefield that the CR-T/N Zones are, currently before the Council. Regardless of when or how the Sector Plan passes, development interests will use existing zoning as a starting point for negotiations. It is neither illegal or wrong, but it is how developers work. In my past ten years in this business, I'm not sure I can count more than a dozen projects which went through the regulatory process without a Zoning Ordinance or a Special Exception. Some are necessary, some probably not, but the one thing they all have in common is reliance on judgment calls. Because of the fallibility of such judgments, we all ought to seek as refined a codification of what is appropriate and what is not.

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