The owner of a beer-and-wine store complained in a suit filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court yesterday that the gas lines from the service station next door are ruining his business, and asked the court to stop the line from blocking his entrance.
But the gas station proprietor said he is just doing what the police asked him to do - preventing the line of cars from blocking traffic.
Judge David L. Cahoon denied the request for an injunction by Manuel Cebollero, the owner of Belby's Discount Beer and Wine at 890 Rockville Pike. But Cebollero said he will try again to have the judge the case, which Cahoon says raises "a number of hairy issues."
Cebollero said the line of cars that winds through the parking lot in front of his store has caused "a marked drop in sales," damaged the parking lot surface, and increased irritating contact with inconsiderate motorists.
"They open their doors and empty their ashtrays on our lot," Cebollero said. "There's constant motorcycle noise. Our customers can't back out of our lot because people think they're cutting into the gas line.
"Our business depends on repeat customers.They stop here because of the convenience - they have an easy in and an easy out off Rockville Pike. But we can kiss them all goodbye," he said.
The proprietor of Rockville Shell, at 888 Rockville Pike, said that the police had told him about two weeks ago to redirect the line away from Edmonston Drive, where it had been blocking traffic on the single-lane bridge.
"It wasn't my idea," he said. "All I do is pump the gas. People pull their car in. I pump gas. I don't care which way they line up."
The proprietor said that he and Cebollero, who have both worked in the neighborhood for about two years, were once friends.
"We buy everything from him," he said. "And we do his car repairs. He used to smile at us all the time. Since the line, all he gives us is a nasty face."