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Phil Andrews, District 3 Roger Berliner, District 1 Marc Elrich, At-Large Valerie Ervin, District 5 Nancy Floreen, At-Large George Leventhal, At-Large Nancy Navarro, District 4 Craig Rice, District 2 Hans Riemer, At-Large

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Montgomery County Councilmembers Propose Zoning Change to Protect Residents From the Impacts of Mega-Gas Stations
  • Release ID: 12-093
  • Release Date: 5/9/2012
  • Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939 or Delphine Harriston240-777-7931
  • From: Council Office
ROCKVILLE, Md., May 9, 2012—Montgomery County Councilmembers Marc Elrich (At-large), Valerie Ervin (District 5) and Nancy Navarro (District 4) at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 10, will join members of the Kensington Heights Civic Association on the front steps of the County Council Office Building in Rockville for a news conference concerning the building of mega-gas stations in the County.

The Council Office Building is located at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville.

Councilmember Elrich recently introduced Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 12-07, which aims to protect residents’ health by prohibiting new mega-gas stations within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, hospitals or other locations used for recreation or entertainment. The ZTA concerns gas stations pumping more than 3.6 million gallons per year. That number is based on an EPA report regarding school site guidelines.

Councilmember Navarro currently represents the Wheaton area, where there is a proposal to build a mega-gas station on the property of the Westfield Shopping Town. Councilmember Ervin represents an area adjacent to downtown Wheaton. Councilmembers Ervin, Navarro, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer are co-sponsors of ZTA 12-07. A public hearing on the ZTA is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19.

At the event, the Kensington Heights Civic Association, which supports Bill 12-07, will present Henry S. Cole, an environmental scientist with more than 30 years of experience. Dr. Cole has reviewed a recent environmental assessment of a proposed mega-gas station and will highlight major problems with that analysis.

“Numerous cars idling in lines at gas pumps produce unnecessary air contaminants,” Councilmember Elrich said. “These excess emissions are detrimental to all, but children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because their lungs are growing and because they are so active. Air pollution can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and asthma attacks. Mega-gas stations are not an amenity that is worth the trade-off of increased health risks for individuals at nearby activity centers.”

Councilmember Ervin said: “The Council has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of its citizens, particularly children who are our most vulnerable residents. Creating a 1,000-foot buffer between mega-gas stations and schools, parks, playgrounds and other types of public use space is a reasonable step given the traffic and environmental impacts of these types of gas stations. I want to thank the residents of Kensington Heights for bringing this issue to my attention and Marc Elrich for his leadership on this issue.”

Councilmember Elrich said that zoning is an important legal tool used by local governments to regulate the use of private property for the purposes of protecting public health, safety and welfare.

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Last edited: 12/23/2009  

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