For those who live in the shadow of the construction for the new addition of Westfield mall at Wheaton, the concern isn't over the cranes or the bulldozers or even the traffic the new stores will attract. The concern is over a new gas station slated to go in.
This will not be an average gas station. Costco plans to build a mega station with 16 pumps. Neighborhood residents say the fumes from all the gas stored and pumped at the station poses a huge health risk—not to mention the increased traffic. But, some Wheaton residents actually like the idea.
“Yes I would use it. I think it would be cheaper than the other gas stations around here,” said Sherre Lancaster.
But people who live right next to the proposed gas station site have been fighting against it, and signs have popped up on the front lawns of homes showing residents' disapproval—hoping to get the county council and county executive to see things their way.
“Why is he messing around with a 16 pump gas station because that's what Costco wants. That's not what's good for Wheaton or for the neighborhood,” said Wendy Melillo Farrill.
After a three year fight, residents are finally getting some support—in the Montgomery County Council. Legislation is scheduled to be introduced, that if passed, would prohibit gas stations from being built near residential areas. Residents are pinning all their hopes on its passage.
They know they are running out of resources and money and time. With every day they hear the roar of construction equipment on their doorsteps, residents know they are one day closer to seeing their worst fears realized.