Friday, July 31, 2015
Westbard Sector Plan public hearing set for September 24, 2015
You will have a whopping 3 minutes to testify. Interestingly, the hearing will be at the Silver Spring planning headquarters, in contrast to the remote location hearings of the Bethesda Downtown Plan recently.
So far, the Westbard plan has been panned by residents, who object to the urban character, height and density proposed.
The plan also offers no substantive public amenities or facilities beyond the daylighting of Willett Branch stream, of which there is no guarantee it will ever actually happen. Moreover, the concepts for the daylighting are using river images, while the stream itself is currently a stormwater channel.
But those aren't the only deceptive aspects of the plan. Read my in-depth analysis first to understand how the 75' maximum heights aren't actually maximums, when you factor in the density bonuses developers will receive. The plan proposes to drop thousands of new people and cars into a two-block area, but suggests not a single proposal to increase vehicle capacity on either of the main commuting corridors in the plan area, River Road and Massachusetts Avenue.
On the positive side, the historical background in the plan has been well-developed, and some excellent recommendations for bike facilities and connectivity have been made.
As of press time, there was no mechanism to actually sign up for the public hearing on the planning website.