Monday, August 17, 2015

Sign up now for Westbard Sector Plan public hearings September 24

I was somewhat taken aback when the Montgomery County Planning Board cut off sign-ups for the public hearings on the Bethesda Downtown Plan very swiftly this summer, arbitrarily capping the number of speakers, rather than hearing from every individual who had a right to testify. So be sure you sign up quickly if you wish to be heard on the Public Hearing Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan on Thursday, September 24, 2015.

Who needs to sign up right away? Nearby residents and small business owners.

Issues in the plan that really need to be addressed by the Planning Board include the out-of-character urban heights, massing and density recommended and illustrated in the plan. The image shown prominently on the upper right of the draft plan's cover is a great example of a purely urban character being shown for a purely suburban residential area nowhere near a Metro station.

Other flaws include the severe lack of public amenities and facilities in the plan, an equally severe lack of proposals (actually, no proposals at all) to address the addition of 4087 cars onto an already congested commuter route (River Road), school overcrowding, and the absence of office space in the plan. 

Here's an in-depth analysis of the plan, and aspects of it that have been kept quiet so far by the County and the media - such as the fact that building heights will be even taller than those cited in the plan. Shh...

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

If more offices are built in Westbard, will Dyer get a job in one of them?

Anonymous said...

I wish the Dyer troll would go away and stay away.

That being said, is there any hope of effecting any change at all with the planning board? Have they ever changed a plan due to public outcry? Thanks for any insight.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Robert you should be flattered - the Troll seems to spend more time on your site than you!

Anonymous said...

How come Dyer hasn't reported on Lord & Taylor's being awarded damages for breach of contract from the Lerners? You'd figure he'd be interested in that story. I guess not.

Robert Dyer said...

5:28: With the Chevy Chase Lake plan, the Board actually took the opposite approach, playing Bad Cop to the Planning Staff's Good Cop. They put more height and density into that plan, and then the County Council played Good Cop by slightly reducing height and density.

In the end, though, the developers got the height and density they wanted - the Good Cop/Bad Cop is Kabuki theater to allow the Council to say they reduced the scale in a wise and judicious compromise, while delivering the goods in return for the big checks they got from the developers.

Anonymous said...

You think that was an intentional coordinated effort?

Anonymous said...

I am totally against unlimited speakers. All speakers should be required to coordinate topics and speaking points and provide a representative who cohesively provides a combined statement. Such a waste of time to hear individuals with the same speaking points and no organized response.

Anonymous said...

So glad they got the density. Put the land to good use so close in to DC, freshen up the dilapidated area, provide more housing and services. Less density would have driven up the costs per unit and passed on the costs to the consumer too.

Anonymous said...

Dyer's prerogative what to post on his blog.

Robert Dyer said...

3:44: North Korea, Cuba and China agree with you.

Robert Dyer said...

3:43: Absolutely.

Robert Dyer said...

4:02: I'm sure the rich, white people who move in will greatly appreciate the "discount" prices in "dilapidated" Chevy Chase, MD.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Is there hard evidence to support the theory?

Anonymous said...

"Good Cop/Bad Cop is Kabuki theater"

Mixed Metaphors Alert!

Trawick said...

The developers, and their lawyers, certainly expect returns on their $ contributions to the Council. And they will get it...doesn't matter what the community wants.

Anonymous said...

The troll is the same guy. He lurks on Dyer's site most of the day looking for attention.

Robert Dyer said...

7:07: You do realize your position - that citizens should be denied their right to speak - is extreme and standard policy in the countries I mentioned?

I don't think anyone with common sense would take such a radical position "seriously" in the USA.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:09 PM

More idiotic hyperbole.

Robert Dyer said...

7:08: Yes, the public actions of each of those involved. The councilmembers then made the spurious claim that they had "right-sized" Chevy Chase Lake in defiance of the evil Planning Board during the 2014 election - despite the developers strategically ending up with exactly the height and density they had wanted all along.

You need to read "Power: A Radical View" to understand the tactics the MoCo political cartel uses.

Rule #1 from the book on planning options - every option on the table is acceptable to the developers. Options that are unacceptable - such as 45' heights at "Westbard" - are never even an option on the table to begin with.

Robert Dyer said...

7:15: It's exactly what the commenter suggested - meaning that, by your definition, the troll comment is also "idiotic hyperbole". Considering you probably posted both comments, reach your own conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Well this is a first. Someone who said something negative and positive is the same person.
If it's negative it's also the same person.

If it's positive it's multiple people supporting Dyer.

Anonymous said...

How did "organized and cohesive combined response" turn into denied right to speak?

Robert Dyer said...

5:42: Everyone except for the person delivering the "organized and cohesive combined response" (this sounds like Soviet speak) isn't being allowed to speak under your bizarre scenario. You apparently find the Norman Rockwell painting of the working man rising to speak at a public meeting a horrifying threat. Too bad. Welcome to America.

Robert Dyer said...

5:41: Both comments were negative. Both were clearly posted by the same troll.

Anonymous said...

It's the same guy posting the nasty stuff. He'll go quiet if working on something (which isn't too often).

Anonymous said...

1)Re: coordinated response: That *might* make sense if Montgomery County Planning had polled residents to get an accurate sense of citizens' views, or otherwise developed a plan which recognized residents' sensibilities. As that has not happened, I urge residents and small businesses in Westbard to sign up to testify and make their views known.
2)I found it easy to sign up to testify and I urge others to do so.
3)I agree that the MoCo Planning Department process has been "gamed" to emphasize high density. A plan utilizing existing heights of 45' was never seriously considered, despite (insofar as can be gleaned from public meetings) overwhelming public support. Watching this process has, I am sorry to say, made me more cynical about the Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery County government generally.

Anonymous said...

Contd: I note, however, that the MoCo public testimony sign-up process was easy-- strike 1 blow for democracy.