Residents Meet to Save Westbard (VIDEOS & PHOTOS)
More than 250 Westbard area residents turned out for a community meeting at the Washington Waldorf School on April 3 to discuss the much debated Westbard Sector Plan.
A group of volunteer residents called “Save Westbard” hosted the meeting. The group posted the following on their Facebook page invite to community members:
As you may know, the County Council is poised to vote on the proposed Montgomery County Planning Board revision of the Westbard Sector plan. The proposed plan calls for an increase of as many as 2,000 new residences, the equivalent of taking both Springfield and Sumner and putting the combined density onto one street! The impact of this on roads, traffic, shopping quality and schools cannot be understated and has been distorted by the Council which claims we can handle it.
At the meeting many residents voiced their concerns about the Montgomery County Council’s revised version of the plan, which may get approval later this month.
“We are prepared to fight on all levels to be heard,” Stan Wiggins said in a news release. “We can improve the Westbard shopping area without destroying the character of our community, but not if the people who have been elected to represent us are more concerned about their developer friends than they are about the people who elect them,” he said.
The Council’s preliminary plan, which was approved by the full council on March 22, could potentially allow 1,213 new residential units to be built in the River Road and Westbard Avenue area over the next 30 years.
During the meeting residents raised concerns about density and building height. Residents overwhelming voted on delaying the Council’s approval by four weeks, limiting the number of new residences built to 580 units over and above the current zoning, and limiting building height to 50 feet. Residents also expressed that they’re willing to protest at the Councilmembers offices and homes.
“Save Westbard” posted the following videos of the vote.
Bethesda resident Jeanne Allen, who attended the meeting, wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post about her opposition to the plan. In her piece, Allen compared the developers, New York based Equity One, to Donald Trump and criticized the Council for moving ahead with a plan urbanize Westbard. “This effort to placate a major developer is fraught with nonsense, government overreach and a ‘we know best’ mentality. We don’t need change for change’s sake,” Allen wrote.
Allen told MyMCMedia that during the meeting residents considered seeking municipal incorporation. “We agreed that their actions will directly affect our votes in 2018; and will determine whether this community initiates the process of municipal incorporation,” she said.
For more information on the Westbard Sector Plan, visit the Montgomery County Planning website.