Now, when I heard this the first time, it struck me as being ridiculous. I'm not only a lifelong resident of Bethesda who grew up in the Westbard area, but also happened to spend much time in Annapolis as a child, as well. When I think of downtown Annapolis, that is a large area that includes the Maryland State House. Annapolis is a state capital, and a port city. In the larger sense, it is home to multiple major institutions of government and education. While the Westbard Sector has much history yet to be acknowledged by the county - including significant African-American and Native American sites - it has never been a capital, nor the equivalent of a port.
A more fundamental difference exists between both: Annapolis is a destination; the Westbard Sector is a commercial, retail and service area for the residential neighborhoods that surround it.
While the comparison seemed silly to me, I decided to go to an actual expert to settle the question once and for all. Believe it or not, you can't just Google the question of "what is the size of downtown Annapolis?" Try it. But in trying to dig up the answer, I eventually was forwarded to the official GIS Coordinator for the City of Annapolis. By his calculation, the size of what is considered to be downtown Annapolis is .75 square miles.
According to the official Westbard Sector Plan document, the Westbard Sector consists of 153 acres of land. In converting acres to square miles, here's what we end up with:
So, what is the significance of floating this idea of Westbard being the size of Annapolis? Obviously, it's an attempt to influence public perception regarding the appropriate scale of development for the area. But it's simply inaccurate.