Bethesda Residents Protest Westbard Sector Plan (PHOTOS & VIDEOS)

UPDATED On a rainy and cold Saturday morning, dozens of Bethesda residents held umbrellas and protest signs as they marched along Westbard Avenue. It was the second day in a row that many of them took to the streets to protest the Westbard Sector Plan.

“Hey-hey, ho-ho! Density has got to go,” they chanted.

“We are not against the redevelopment. We want the redevelopment. We want it to be smart growth, and not at the expense of the area,” said Nancy Gray, who was one of the marchers on Saturday morning. Gray said she is worried about the impact of the plan’s density on local traffic and schools.

Westbard resident Barry Miller helped lead the protest on Saturday, and said he wants the Montgomery County Council to understand that there is a lot of local opposition to the Westbard Sector Plan.

“We don’t agree with what they are planning to do,” said Miller. “We want them to delay the vote and give vast more consideration to the consequences of the plan.”

Another popular chant from protestors: “Hey-hey, aye-aye: County Council hear us cry.”

westbard19Neal Davies said he has lived in the area for over 40 years.

“I think the Giant store and parking lot does need an update but not at the expense of urbanization,” Davies said. “We want to have a nice neighborhood community shopping center here. What the Council is proposing is a regional shopping center. Our traffic is bad enough as it is now.”

Davies said the whole neighborhood is against the plan.

The owner of the Westwood Shopping Center, Equity One, released a statement about the Westbard Sector Plan after a similar protest drew hundreds of people on Friday:

“Equity One has been actively working with the community throughout this process to ensure the plans for our properties fit with the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, we believe the Council’s decisions to date on the Westbard Sector Plan are reasonable, well thought out and respectful of the various interests of all who have participated.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Council and community as we pursue a long overdue remake of our properties that will provide modern amenities and numerous benefits to the Westbard community.”

The Westbard Sector Plan is a document that guides future development for the area. The County Council is expected to vote on the final plan later this month. Council Vice President Roger Berliner has worked to scale down the plan significantly.

“We are very grateful to Mr. Berliner for the scale back proposal,” said Gray. “But we feel that it is still too much.”

Protesters said they are planning to demonstrate next at the Council Office Building in Rockville. The date for that protest has not been determined. For more information about the Save Westbard organization, visit its website.

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

Cross above front door of Macedonia Baptist Church 5119 River Road Bethesda 1600 x 1200

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 […]

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County Report This Week (VIDEO)

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The latest episode of County Report This Week includes reports on Noah’s Law signing, the Westbard Sector Plan, the Carver bus depot and more. You can watch the show, below:

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"21 This Week" Talks Elections, Westbard Plan and Metro (VIDEO)

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Casey Aiken hosts the latest episode of “21 This Week.”  Aiken and the panel discuss the Presidential election, the Westbard Sector Plan, the National Transportation Safety Board’s May 3rd report on the January 12, 2015 L’Enfant Plaza accident and the future of the proposed White Oak Silence Gateway Master Plan. This week’s panel of political observers […]

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Council Unanimously Approves Westbard Sector Plan (VIDEO)

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The Montgomery County Council approved new zoning for the Westbard community of Bethesda on May 3rd. The vote was unanimous, 9-0, for the Westbard Sector Plan. “It has been, to say the least, a bumpy ride,” said Council Vice President Roger Berliner, who worked to reduce the density in the plan and who also found […]

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Bethesda Residents Want County Councilmembers to Reduce Density in Westbard Sector Plan (VIDEO)


Dozens of Bethesda residents protested outside the Council Office Building one week before the County Council scheduled a vote on the Westbard Sector Plan. The residents displayed signs that read, “Save Our Neigborhood,” and “Beautify not Densify,” as they took turns at the microphone sharing their thoughts on the current Westbard Sector Plan. They were […]

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Berliner on Westbard: "I Get That This is Not a Popular Stand" (VIDEO)

Berliner at Westbard Rally

Dozens of residents who say they are trying to “Save Westbard,” rallied in front of the County Council Office Building on April 26, one week before the County Council is scheduled to vote on the Westbard Sector Plan. Council Vice President Roger Berliner has worked to reduce the density in the plan for this Bethesda […]

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Councilmember Marc Elrich Addresses Save Westbard Group (VIDEO)

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In this MyMCMedia Extra video, below, Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich addresses the residents at the “Save Westbard” rally outside the Council Office Building on April 26th. Elrich said he shares the residents’ anxiety about the planning process. Take a look: The rally comes one week before the Montgomery County Council is slated to vote […]

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Save Westbard Group Plans Rally outside Council Office Building in Rockville


Residents are organizing a Save Westbard rally to take place on Tuesday morning from 10 a.m. to noon outside the Council Office Building in Rockville. The rally comes one week before the Council is scheduled to formally vote on the Westbard Sector Plan. The last time the group organized at the Westwood Shopping Center, dozens […]

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Berliner Posts Open Letter on Westbard Sector Plan (VIDEO)

Roger Berliner

Montgomery County Council Vice President Roger Berliner has posted an open letter about the Westbard Sector Plan on his Facebook page. “I believe this plan will enhance the Westbard area, not degrade it,” he writes on his Facebook page as as a preface. He also notes that the plan has been “reduced in half from […]

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Council President Nancy Floreen on the Westbard Sector Plan (VIDEO)


At her weekly briefing, County Council President Nancy Floreen announced that the Council will take up the Westbard Sector Plan in early May. According to Floreen, it is unprecedented that the Council is leaving this much time between the straw vote and final vote for further conversations. Find out more in this MyMCMedia Extra 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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