MOUNT LAUREL — Beginning Tuesday, Costco gas stations across the Garden State began requiring all shoppers to be active Costco members.
But at one place in New Jersey, and only one, anyone from anywhere is still eligible to buy gas: 100 Centerton Road in Mount Laurel.
Indeed, if the station begins to ask motorists for proof of membership, the municipality could sue the company.
“We contacted them on Friday and warned them again, and said we knew it was going to start next week statewide, but it wouldn’t happen in Mount Laurel,” said attorney George Morris. of Township, New Jersey 101.5.
The exemption stems from the fact that the gas pumps were not originally part of the plans and construction of the site. It wasn’t until the wholesale club was up and running that Costco came to the township and indicated they would like to add a gas station.
Because a gas station there was not an approved use, Morris said, Costco had to submit a testimonial explaining why the addition would benefit the community.
“That testimony was clear that they would sell gasoline to everyone,” Morris said. “The testimonial they provided, which they would sell to anyone, was enough to convince the board to give them their approval. Without that testimonial, I don’t know if they would have gotten approval this that night.”
Motorists at Costco gas stations, including at the Mount Laurel location, began seeing signs in June warning them that on July 5, an active membership card would be required for gas purchases.
“We contacted their attorneys immediately,” Morris said.
New Jersey gave Costco the green light to change its policy late last month because state officials were unable to identify a statue that prevents the company from making the move.
A call to the Mount Laurel location on Tuesday confirmed that proof of membership was not required for gasoline purchases. Calls to every other Costco in New Jersey with a gas station confirmed that attendants ask to see an active card before starting the pump.
“If people go to Costco and get turned down, they should definitely contact the township because it would be a violation of their approvals,” Morris said of the Mount Laurel location. “And the township will take corrective action, including bringing them to justice.”
Attempts to reach Costco for comment failed Tuesday afternoon.
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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