Friday, February 05, 2016

Westbard sector plan public hearing 2: Lies, astroturf and "Monopoly at its worst"

Several dozen more speakers testified on the proposed Westbard sector plan before the Montgomery County Council last night, the second of two scheduled public hearings (Read a full report on the first hearing here). We learned quite a bit in the process, including that Montgomery County Public Schools and other County officials haven't been honest about the percentage of students generated by multifamily housing, some of the few speakers who favor the plan are reading from scripts (a phenomenon known as "Astroturf"), and that Ace Ventura may need to be hired to protect the Westwood Pet Center and other small businesses at Westbard from "Monopoly at its worst."

More Westbard coverage:

A Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School parent, who hadn't originally planned to testify but was welcomed up after several no-shows opened space on the list, told councilmembers that he was intrigued by developers' assertions that multifamily housing would not generate many students in the already overcrowded BCC and Walt Whitman clusters. He then studied the BCC HS student directory, tabulating the number of student addresses containing suite or unit numbers. His final calculation was stunning - a full half of BCC students live in multifamily housing, he said. 

This is embarrassing for several reasons. At an infrastructure summit held last year (enjoy my fact-checking takedown of the pro-developer propaganda generated by the event), which did not disclose that one "educational" presentation was delivered by an architect from the firm hired by Westbard developer Equity One (Oops), MCPS' long range planning guru Bruce Crispell's data touted only 69 high school students at BCC come from apartment buildings in downtown Bethesda. According to MCPS, there are currently 1989 students enrolled at BCC! Whoops! It sounds like they've been lying to us, folks.

Second, you then add the fact that Crispell acknowledged the percentage of students generated from multifamily housing in the Whitman cluster is much higher than average, and of course higher than in the BCC cluster. In fact, Crispell said he uses a special formula when he makes projections in the Whitman cluster for that reason, which he then demonstrated.

Speaking of misleading... A handful of people testified in favor of the plan last night as advocates of affordable housing. I noticed that several of them not only made the same points, but even used the exact same phrase: "a mix of senior housing, workforce housing and deeply-affordable units." Not only is it rare for different speakers to repeat an exact sentence during a public hearing, but I've never heard the phrase, "deeply-affordable", used in regard to housing in all my years of public activism. Clearly, a script was being used. This is called Astroturf, ladies and gentlemen, deployed when there are no actual grassroots to support something as unpopular as the current Westbard sector plan.

Even the race card was deployed once again. The term "racial segregation" was bandied about at one point. This kind of talk is completely absurd. First of all, Westbard today has a greater relative percentage of affordable housing than downtown Bethesda when you adjust for population. None of the buildings approved in the last decade in downtown Bethesda have the same percentage of affordable units as the buildings on Westbard Avenue. 

While affordable housing talk is employed to apparently shame and guilt-trip people into supporting the destruction of their own neighborhood, it also makes no sense and completely distorts the historical record.

The very Council these affordable housing advocates were addressing last night is the same one that sabotaged the designation of the Arlington Road corridor in downtown Bethesda for affordable housing. Ruling MoCo primarily thanks to millions of dollars in developer contributions to their political campaigns, the Council allowed those same developers to get out of building that housing. 

Right across Woodmont Avenue from the Bethesda Metro station, the proposed affordable housing zone was designed to place low-income residents within walking distance of County services and facilities, and public transit. Instead, the same Arlington Road corridor today is home to literally the most expensive housing units in downtown Bethesda!

Now, one person testified, the transit and public service Saharan Desert known as Westbard is suddenly "the last chance for affordable housing." Ralph Bennett of Silver Spring concurred, lecturing residents of a neighborhood he doesn't live in that Westbard is the "last obvious opportunity for growth." Huh?

In other words, current and recent past Councils personally profited by doing the wrong thing on affordable housing in downtown Bethesda, and now they want to dump a city's worth of affordable housing into a 2-block area in a suburban residential community? 

Much like Planning Board Chairman Casey Anderson's out-of-touch comments on roads and schools, the facts don't back up the claims. You wouldn't know it from the testimony and propaganda, but black people do live in the Westbard area! If you were walking around the area regularly, you would know that. If you were voting here on Election Day, you would know that. You kind of had to live in a precinct to vote there, at least up until now.

Now if you're talking about income levels and affordable housing: First, hold your Council representatives accountable for their history with the aforementioned Arlington Road plan, their failure to require higher-than-12.5% affordable units in the rest of downtown Bethesda, and for their efforts demolishing (and rezoning for demolition) existing affordable housing in downtown Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, Wheaton, Long Branch, and Glenmont. Own your disaster, own your Councilmembers you supported before you start lecturing other people.

There's nothing in the Constitution, by the way, that guarantees a Potomac mansion to minimum wage employees. That's not what providing affordable housing means. Welcome to the world. Playing the race card to help private development firms have a multimillion payday is about as low as it gets.

Speaking of accountability, resident Robert Lipman made a sensible demand of the County Council and Planning Board - show us the scale model. Lipman said, correctly, that the public has never been shown an accurate scale depiction of what a full-build-out of the proposed plan would look like (now, of course, we know why not, given the shock value of what an accurate model would depict). He recounted a typically-disastrous Metro and bus commute from earlier in the day. 

Then he pulled out a Monopoly game board and propped it up on the hearing table. Turning around to congratulate "Mike" (presumably Equity One's Mike Berfield), Lipman said "Mike" had money for the land purchase, as he waved a bag full of Monopoly money in the air. He then picked up a second moneybag, stating Mike also had money for the PR firm hired to shift public opinion. And he raised a third bag to represent the funds spent on lobbyists. As another speaker noted, the Planning Department mysteriously left Westbard untouched since 1982, but suddenly sprung into action when Equity One bought the Westwood Complex.

Don't expect free parking from the Monopoly guy, though. First, there's the language in the plan that could eventuallly lead to metered parking at Westbard.

But back to Bennett for a moment, who was outright trolling Westbard residents last night. I often testify on development in parts of the County I don't live in. The difference - I'm usually testifying on behalf of the position the majority of residents have, who are trying to fight the latest egregious, corrupt action of the Montgomery County political cartel. I'm not trying to destroy somebody else's neighborhood.

Bennett wasn't just advocating for high-density urban growth in a quiet suburban community, but even threw in the kitchen sink, boasting that Westbard would one day be a stop between Bethesda and Tysons on the Purple Line. Of course, this is the secret plan of the MoCo political machine, but one that few dare admit publicly. One has to wonder - are the vague plans, "connector road" right-of-way, and land acquisitions the plan calls for in the industrial zone near the Capital Crescent Trail really for parks? Or are they a placeholder Trojan horse for a Purple Line station, rail yard, transformer and maintenance facility? Shh......quiet.

Resident Margaret Ott said, "the Planning Board sold us down the river, and we don't want to be up Willetts creek without a paddle," referring to the popular but currently pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by proposal to naturalize the Willett Branch stream.

Thomas Hearn had an idea that's plenty popular in the square mile around the Westwood Shopping Center at the moment - "Defund the Planning Board." Some have inquired how Anderson could be removed as Planning Board Chair. Hearn's idea? All homeowners should ask for a reassessment of their (overinflated for tax purposes) home values to cut revenue that would fund the board.

Eduard Bos found it "appalling" that the Planning Board thinks the investments of out-of-state development firms are more important than the investments actual residents made in purchasing their homes here. "We thought we were moving to a suburban residential area," Bos said.

Could public school students being injured in overcrowded hallways between classes become a legal liability for MCPS? That's an intriguing possibility brought up by resident Sandra Arresta. Let's hope MCPS doesn't kick the reporter out of the courtroom again when it happens. Does the MoCo political cartel have an overinflated sense of entitlement, or what? Psychiatric help might be a solution, but term limits would probably be cheaper. Throw the bums out!

One speaker rightly commended Wood Acres PTA President Jason Sartori for his very effective testimony Tuesday night, for which neither the Planning Board nor Council have generated any response to yet.

What I thought was quite effective last night, were a number of speakers who made the case for what a great community exists now around the Westbard area. Both Malcolm Burke and Mary Morrissey said that Westbard as it is today was the selling point for them in choosing the community. 

Burke said he moved here because of the small, family-run shops in the Westwood Shopping Center, the great library a short walking distance away, and the small-scale residential neighborhood character. Passing the plan as is, Burke predicted, would be an "unmitigated disaster."

Morrissey recounted that "what attracted me to Westbard were the very things this plan would destroy."

Resident Fred Graefe countered far-fetched claims that patrons of the extremely-busy Westwood Shopping Center are about to take their business to cookie cutter "town centers" elsewhere in the County (good luck finding the right rabbit food, shoe repair or new muffler at Rockville Town Square or Downtown Crown, though...). Graefe accurately noted how full the parking lot there is, and it's not because of the liquor store, he added. "But I would imagine sales went up after this plan was released," he speculated, drawing hearty laughter from the crowd.

I'll leave it to resident Frank Vita to close it out. He described the Westbard area as an active functioning community, that would suffer "permanent and irreparable damage" should this plan be approved by the Council. 

Vita said jurisdictions would ordinarily propose a plan like this "where there's something lacking. Well, there's nothing lacking in our neighborhood."

Well said.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Same percentage of affordable housing... when you adjust for population."

What does this mean? Do you understand how to calculate percentage?

Robert Dyer said...

7:25: That's not an accurate quote. I said Westbard has a greater percentage of affordable housing relative to population when compared to downtown Bethesda development. Very clear fact and statement.

Janis Sartucci said...

Clip of Tom Hearn's public comment:

http://parentscoalitionmc.blogspot.com/2016/02/charette-is-french-for-charade-planned.html

Anonymous said...

Did the parent who searched the student direct for unit numbers then look at the balance of the student's address to confirm that they lived in an apartment building in downtown Bethesda? Or did he lump Silver Spring apartment residents in with his 50% calc making the comparison to the MCPS # useless?

It would be no surprise at all if a large percentage of the B-CC students from Silver Spring live in apartment buildings and would also have no correlation to the expected population of students in new downtown Bethesda apartment buildings. You are talking about an entirely different demographic between the two and attempting to use that as a comparison is senseless.

Anonymous said...

There are large numbers of students from apartments and condos around the county. Not a new trend either. Even on Westbard Avenue and the surrounding areas!

Dyer is going to keep the county and developer PR teams busy and employed!

Robert Dyer said...

9:06: He was including Silver Spring. The larger point I made is that he showed a higher rate of students living in apartments than MCPS has told the public.

The rate of students generated from apartments in the Whitman cluster is much higher than the County average, as I noted in the article. So take whatever that is, and it will be more for Whitman.

Anonymous said...

MCPS said 69 students at B-CC came from downtown Bethesda apartments, is there any evidence out there to discredit that specific statement?

Of course a large number of students live in apartments buildings as that represents a large portion of the housing throughout the county but to claim the development of new high end, very expensive, 1 & 2BR apartments in downtown Bethesda will lead to a significant influx of county students is crazy and the numbers don't back it up. Affordable housing will certainly lead to student growth but not what is going up now.

Anonymous said...

"Students generated by apartments"

Can someone please explain the Facts of Life to Dyer?

weski said...

Thanks for the prompt summary of the meeting. You can't have it both ways, expensive townhomes/condos/apts that may or may not have students, but are likely to have some but then suggesting there will be only a few in affordable housing. It is known that kids live in affordable housing. Ever check how many kids take the bus at the current Westbard high rise? Any way you look at it, there will be more students and no good MCPS plan. And no good transportation plan for a newly dense area with lots of existing River Rd. traffic. It's the overall density of the new plan that is appallingly inappropriate for a suburban area. And the long term thought of the Purple Line sends chills...

Anonymous said...

Folks need to get out of their exclusive Bethesda single family home enclaves.
It's not uncommon for a family with a child to live in a 2 bedroom apt/condo.

Anonymous said...

@9:38 I think the residents are saying this -- that there will be lots of kids overcrowding the schools. It's the planning board that is saying otherwise.

Dyer: Did any Council members speak during the hearing, or just sit back and listen?

Time to oust Anderson from the Planning Board!

Anonymous said...

I'd hope the new Westbard plans include plenty of 2-3 bedroom units that cater to low income families that need such accommodations.

Mark Mendez said...

Excellent report on last night's hearing!

Robert Dyer said: (good luck finding the right rabbit food, shoe repair or new muffler at Rockville Town Square or Downtown Crown, though...)

I couldn't agree more. The unique mom and pop shops that service communities will become a thing of the past with these glossy cookie cutter town centers. Cafes and restaurants cannot fix your pin hole leaks, flat tires or change your muffler. MoCo's industrial zones are disappearing faster than the melting snow, and especially down county.

Please support local business and services where WE NEED THEM.Sign our petition!

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition-to-conserve-protect-and-enhance-silver

Anonymous said...

Isn't Anderson leaving anyway?

Keep in mind the residents that come to these events are a small subset of the entire region's opinion.

Anonymous said...

The apartments on Westbard have many students getting the bus to Whitman and their numbers have been increasing in recent years as people find out how reasonable the Westwood Tower rents are; Kenwood Place Condominium has large, comfortable apartments that are an amazing bargain for the area. Once they build the new apartments and townhouses it will bring in more well-to-do residents, as well, with their children. The only school overcrowding solution I have seen in the Planning Board's proposals are to RE-ZONE the apartments in the area away from Whitman and BCC... so the problem may take care of itself, if an uncrowded school district exists anywhere near the neighborhood. Will Westbard still be desirable if the school changes?

Anonymous said...

Yes, square footage of Kenwood Place, Sumner Court, The Kenwood, etc. condos rival that of many townhomes and single family houses in MoCo!

I wish the Council and Board would be more knowledgeable about the area!

Robert Dyer said...

9:45: Nope, no questions. Councilmember Leventhal briefly spoke to sidestep the fact that he and the Council hand-picked this dysfunctional and amateurish Planning Board. They were chosen specifically for their pro-developer views by the Council, and they've got to own it just like the affordable housing folks have to own their choice of Councilmembers.

Robert Dyer said...

10:11: I thought they just passed a change in the law so that Anderson would be immune to term limits as Chair.

The entire region are not property owners adjacent to the area in question, nor do they have kids in schools. What kind of society takes input, finds the majority opposed, and then says, "well, we don't like what the majority opinion is, so we'll just say there's a silent majority and do whatever we want?"

A sick, corrupt and undemocratic society, that's what.

If you don't speak when given the chance, your opinion is irrelevant, and you clearly don't have strong feelings about it, or else you would speak up.

There is no silent majority just because Anderson and Dan Reed say it is doesn't make it so! It's like dealing with a 2:year old child.

'I don't like what you're saying! SILENT MAJORITY! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

Grow up.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have always considered it a general rule of thumb that your house should have 1 full floor for every child that you have. Naturally, we didn't expect twins for our second child(ren), but thankfully, we had a floor to spare and were able to stick to our policy.

I can't imagine raising children in a 2 bedroom apartment. This is why we need progressive programs, so that people have a chance at a better life.

Anonymous said...

#whitepeopleproblems

Anonymous said...

Um the Westbard residents are the minority here. But they do show up to meetings that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Funny how everyone who says they moved to montgomery county for the schools don't indicate that their children are part of the problem too.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of kids who live in the apartments on Willard Ave. In fact MCPS added an additional bus recently to accommodate the increase. They go to B-CC HS.

Robert Dyer said...

12:40: Um, no, the residents are the majority vs. 5 members of the planning board and a couple of out-of-town developers. Your silent majority delusion rivals George Leventhal trying to secede from the state of Maryland after Hogan won.

Robert Dyer said...

1:08: But they're already here. Time to pull up the ladders. Barbarians at the gate.

Anonymous said...

Is that the exact point to pull up the gates ever? This one Westbard development?

Anonymous said...

We're the MCPS numbers county wide or just Bethesda?

Anonymous said...

*were

Anonymous said...

Westbard area residents are firmly against this insane plan. No spin from the PR team can change that fact.

Anonymous said...

And that's the thing. Only current Westbard residents are against it. Most others want it.

Anonymous said...

@10:11 "Keep in mind the residents that come to these events are a small subset of the entire region's opinion."

Over 1,500 people have contacted Montgomery County Council Member Roger Berliner (who represents the Westbard area) about this plan. As a result, Berliner has concluded that the Westbard plan should be scaled back. That suggests that most of the people he's heard from oppose the plan.

Over 1,300 people have signed an online petition at Change.org calling for the plan to be scaled back. Here's a link:
https://www.change.org/p/nancy-floreen-roger-berliner-marc-elrich-tom-hucker-sidney-katz-george-leventhal-nancy-navarro-craig-rice-hans-riemer-keep-the-westbard-sector-plan-on-a-neighborhood-scale

To be fair, developer Michael Berfield of Equity One says that about 500 people have expressed support for the plan. To estimate very conservatively, let's say that the 1,300 people opposing the Westbard Plan and the 500 people who expressed support to Berfield constitute our sample. (We're assuming very conservatively here that those who contacted Berliner to oppose the plan are the same people who signed the Change.org petition, so that we don't double count the opposition.) That is a total of 1800 people.
*500 people (28%) support the plan.
*1300 people (72%) oppose the plan.
72% in opposition is pretty overwhelming. If this were an election, they'd call it a landslide.

Overwhelming opposition to high density development at Westbard is what has been expressed by residents in:
*Community meetings with the developer, Equity One
*Planning sessions (charrettes) conducted by the Planning Department
*Public meetings on the plan conducted by the Planning Department
*Public meetings on the plan conducted by the Planning Board
*Public hearings on the plan conducted by the County Council

By now, it's been shown repeatedly that a strong majority of the people who live in the vicinity of Westbard oppose this plan.

Anonymous said...

Oops, my 6:27 PM post should read:
*Public hearings on the plan conducted by the Planning Board. (Should read hearings, not meetings.)

Anonymous said...

Why should people who live in the vicinity of Westbard have final say on what does or doesn't get built on property they don't own?

Robert Dyer said...

1:37: Very simple - developers are asking for more density than is currently allowed. That requires a public process in which all nearby property owners and businesses have a say.

Anonymous said...

To be fair here.... Not just all nearby property owners and businesses have a say. So do all residents, county planners, devellpers, etc.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the sample is representative. the 1500 opposed probably represents 1500 of 1500. The 500 for probably represents 500 of a much larger number.

Anonymous said...

You are being sarcastic right?

If not, where to begin...

Anonymous said...

Please do begin

Adkins said...

Here are Montgomery County Council Members who listened to testimony-

Roger Berliner- Democrat District 1, 240-777-7828
Marc Elrich- Democrat At Large, 240-777-7966
Nancy Floreen- Democrat At Large, 240-777-7959
Tom Hucker- Democrat District 5, 240-777-7960
Sidney Katz- Democrat District 3, 240-777-7906
George Leventhal- Democrat at Large, 240-777-7811
Nancy Navarro- Democrat District 4 240-777-7968
Craig Rice- Democrat District 2 240-777-7955

These people are the ones who will be voting on the future overdevelopment of Westbard. Clearly, no conservative thinking in this group. There is even talk of extending the Metrorail through Westbard to Tysons. Do you want to deal with overcrowded schools, an already congested Bethesda Giant because ours will be demolished, possible demolition of the historic library, more RIVER ROAD GRIDLOCK, and unending construction crews for the next 5-10 years? How about decreased property values because of the sudden push for low-income housing by unknown people testifying who don't live here? Please CALL each of them to express your concerns!

Anonymous said...

"Historic" library? LMAO

"Low-income housing...unknown people...who don't live here" = "we already got our fair share of coloreds in Westbard"

Adkins said...


Also, I thought it was so very sad how the older black preacher from the historic Macedonia Baptist Church on River Road (next door to the Kenwood tower) was so incredibly rushed in his 3 minute testimony. His simple goal, along with a few members of his church in attendance), was to keep some of the surrounding historic street names in place including Clipper Lane and Dorset Lane. The little preacher man trying to influence the big conglomerate "Equity One" and also the MOCO Council.
Does anyone really think this man has much of a chance or the bigger question were they even listening?

Anonymous said...

8:47 AM is right. The only way residents will get the council to listen to them is to threaten to vote them out. Otherwise, they'll simply default to their pro-developer positions. They get massive campaign contributions from developers, development attorneys and developer PR folks. Totally bought and paid for.

Anonymous said...

Um isn't there a big history of property values by metro being much more stable and rising faster than without? Especially in this area!

People who moved to a Montgomery County SFH for the schools and then complaining about overcrowding should point a finger at themselves first.

Anonymous said...

To 8:54AM I am truly offended by your comment. Shame.

Robert Dyer said...

3:48: Protecting existing neighborhoods is the primary job of planners and elected officials.

Anonymous said...

The MOCO handout 2/4/16 listed the #5 speaker Ralph Bennett as - Individual

Please refer to Google and go to UMD.EDU

"Professor Bennett is President of Bennett Frank McCarthy Architects,of Silver Spring, MD. The firm specializes is residential architecture from single family homes and renovations to institutional housing, especially for special populations including the elderly. The firm also offers services in residential intensive master planning and urban design."

"Mr. Bennett was a Commissioner of the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission for 13 years and Chair for four years. "

Anonymous said...

1. I support the requests of the pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church:
Keep the street names honoring African American families intact (Clipper Lane, Dorsey Lane)
Keep the Church's ingress and egress along Clipper Lane intact
Protect the area that the Church used as a graveyard

2. I support incorporating affordable housing into the plan *while retaining neighborhood scale heights and density*.

3. I support reducing density to 1.5 FAR and keeping heights for new construction at 50 feet (35 feet next to townhouse and one-family communities.)

Anonymous said...

Westbard is in a suburban area and should be low rise and lower density. Why don't they have a scale model for the Council and the public to see?

Anonymous said...

If this plan goes through, I will be voting *against* the County Council members who supported it. The next election is in 2018.

Anonymous said...

@9:46 - 8:54 is pointing out the racism and classism of your own comment.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Bethesda a suburban area once before as well? Things change. Why can't Westbard?

Anonymous said...

Let's be realistic / honest here. How many voted for them or anyone in the first place that is making a fuss? These folks don't seem to care about much of anything else going on. Just what's directly affecting them. Isn't there a term for that? NIMBY is it? :)

Anonymous said...

@3:52:
You say most people probably support the plan.

I've talked to a lot of people, and most support a modern shopping center. But they get very upset when they find out that most of the plan is tall buildings like near Barnes and Noble in downtown Bethesda.

They are also upset that the plan would include an apartment building on the Little Falls Library site.

Everyone I've spoken to is worried about congested roads, overcrowded schools and cut-through traffic.

Anonymous said...

11.54 and 11.55:

Bethesda has a Metro and Westbard doesn't. Big difference.

The residents who oppose this plan are engaged citizens who are paying attention to what is happening in their community.

NIMBY-ism is not happening. The community supports redevelopment of Westbard at greater heights/densities-- but at a compatible scale of 50' generally and 35+ feet near the Crown Street town homes, along Ridgefield Road and at the entrance to Kenwood.

Anonymous said...

11.54 and 11.55:

Bethesda has a Metro and Westbard doesn't. Big difference.

The residents who oppose this plan are engaged citizens who are paying attention to what is happening in their community.

NIMBY-ism is not happening. The community supports redevelopment of Westbard at greater heights/densities-- but at a compatible scale of 50' generally and 35+ feet near the Crown Street town homes, along Ridgefield Road and at the entrance to Kenwood.

Anonymous said...


MOCO Public Hearing handout to the citizens 2/4/16
Speaker #5 Ralph Bennett listed as - Individual (Nice Try)

Please refer to Google and search UMD.edu

"Professor Bennett and his business partner Larry Frank have been the Community Architects for the King Farm, a New Urbanist development in Rockville, Maryland designed by Torti Gallas and Partners, since 2000. Current projects include the design of a 20-acre, 90-unit affordable residential project in St. Mary's County, development coordination for a 36-acre mixed use project in Riverdale Park, Maryland, and a 16-acre transit oriented redevelopment in Washington, DC. "

Professor Bennett, you were heavily booed and shamed by the majority of the concerned citizens of Westbard because your outrageous profit driven ideas for our quiet suburban community are not welcome.

Your business is in Silver Spring you need to go back there. Thank You!



Anonymous said...

That's the definition of NIMYism. They want 35 instead of 50 in their backyard.

Anonymous said...

7.43: We're talking *actual* backyards here. Putting a 55' tall apartment building right next to single-family homes on a single-family street (go to the site and see for yourself) is ludicrous. The neighborhood is suggesting, very reasonably, that this site be dedicated to townhouses.

Anonymous said...

If this plan isn't cut back, there will be a campaign against the at-large Council members and Roger Berliner come 2018. I hope that the Council recognizes how upset people are.

Robert Dyer said...

2:14: Yes, and cut back significantly. There is a "good cop/bad cop" game, as folks in Chevy Chase Lake can attest. Developers purposely overask. Then the Planning Board gives developers everything they want. Then the Council will come in and reduce the heights slightly, and then claim they saved the community. But the final heights remain too high, and match the number that was agreed upon behind closed doors, before the "public process" began. The developers know that number all along, and it's the number they're getting to through the Kabuki theater "process". Shhh....quiet.

So monitor the worksessions closely and see if Berliner, Riemer, Leventhal and Floreen call for 80', 75', or 50' for the 90' Westwood II site, for example. Will it be a "good cop" high number, or the 45-50' the community is actually asking for, particularly on the Manor Care, Westwood II, and Whole Foods/Self "We have boxes!!!" Storage site by Kenwood?

Anonymous said...

What's the lot 31 height behind Leland? That actually looks quite good

Anonymous said...

@ 2:08 AM, @ 6:46 AM - The Darcy is 7 stories, a bit over 70" high.

Anonymous said...

The Darcy looks great. The distance between the SFH with backyards, the new fences with gates, stairs and landscaping, path, and outdoor area look good. Will the Westbard 50' be closer/same/further than the Darcy 70'?

Anonymous said...

The back side of the flats is unimpressive. You can tell they put all the design on the Bethesda Ave/Woodmont Ave sides.

Anonymous said...

Oh sorry that's the Flats right? I think it looks good backed up up the houses.