The pressure to transform the suburban Westbard area of Bethesda into an urban town center is not coming from residents. According to Montgomery County planner Marc DeOcampos, 85-90% of resident feedback during the week-long Westbard Sector Plan charrette was in favor of low-density development.
With those same residents panning the initial concept plan last week, and no clear incentives or perks to justify the negatives of urbanization on the Westbard area, where will any support for radical change come from in the Westbard Sector Plan process at the Planning Board and County Council levels?
Follow the money.
Developer Equity One, which owns all of the commercial properties along Westbard Avenue and Ridgefield Road, has partnered with local development firm EYA. EYA has donated many thousands of dollars to councilmembers. Here's a chart detailing checks the firm and its leaders have written to those members of the Montgomery County Council: