Berliner and Leggett Ask Planning Board Chair to Pause Westbard Plan and to Retain Mediator

Macedonia Baptist Church

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council President Roger Berliner have written a letter to Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson asking for a delay in the Equity One sketch plan process, just weeks after the board approved the development plan (excluding the area believed to be a historic burial ground).

In the letter dated March 16, the county leaders write that they have met with members of the Macedonia Baptist Church about the planning process and the possible cemetery off River Road in the Westbard section of Bethesda.

“We both believe it is important that, to the best of our ability, we take some added measures to assist those who believe their ancestors were buried on this site and obtain as much certainty and closure as possible,” wrote Leggett and Berliner. “Because the community remains understandably concerned about the process thus far, we agree that it would be wise for us to pause for a moment, bring all the parties together to address the various concerns that have been expressed and seek a solution that all can agree upon before we move forward.”

The county leaders said they believe a third-party mediator should be retained to work with all parties, including the planning board, church, and representatives from the county council and executive branch.

Montgomery County Planning Director Gwen Wright agrees.

“I think having a mediator is a good idea and I look forward to working with Mr. Leggett’s office to implement this,” Wright said.

“Once the mediation is concluded and the parties have agreed to the scope and terms of the archaeological study and peer review, the county will consider funding both the study and peer review,” wrote Leggett and Berliner in the letter.

You can read the leaders’ letter, below:

Dozens Rally at Macedonia Baptist Church About Historic Burial Site in Bethesda (VIDEO)

Planners Share Community’s Concerns about Possible Cemetery Site in Westbard (VIDEO)

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


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