Sunday, March 13, 2016

This chart is not telling the truth about Westbard low-income housing dump scheme

Chart purporting to show
number of low-income housing
units to be dumped at Westbard
Montgomery County planners are lowballing the total number of low-income housing units in a chart prepared for Monday's County Council PHED Committee worksession. Councilmembers and the public alike might quickly review this chart, and take it seriously as the total number of affordable units that will be built under the staff's recommendations.

Not quite.

The chart claims the Housing Opportunities Commission property (Westwood Tower and parking lots) will generate only 19 low-income units at the standard 12.5% affordable requirement, or 23 if the Council mandates 15%. Wrong! The HOC has said it plans to build two 75' buildings, with 30% of the units being affordable. That means the real number would be more like 90 low-income housing units. And that's in addition to the 43 already on site, which HOC just announced it plans to double within Westwood Tower in the coming years to around 86, according to Councilmember Roger Berliner.

For the Bowlmor site, which the PHED committee voted to accept at 110' height last Monday, the chart says only 19-23 low-income units will be generated. My estimate is at least 38 affordable units there.

And on the Capital Properties/Park Bethesda site, a laughable 63-75 units are predicted. Try 125, as the developer has promised 25% of the 500(!!) units it plans there will be affordable housing.

19-41 units are promised for the American Plant/Roof Center site. Not true. For 350 units at 15%, the actual number of low-income housing units there would be 53.

Rather than assemble the River Road properties, the staff report refers to how many affordable units might be built on an individual gas station site, for example. In reality, these properties will be assembled before redevelopment, and they are getting heights of 75' apiece.

Finally, the chart entirely excludes the Little Falls Library site, which the Council PHED Committee has yet to declare entirely off-limits to a proposed 75' affordable housing building. With the County as a partner in redeveloping the library, expect that to further inflate the number of affordable units, and the type of services-dependent clientele to be served by those units, as witnessed in County-involved developments like The Metropolitan in downtown Bethesda.

Merely adding up the more realistic numbers for the HOC, Bowlmor, Park Bethesda, and American Plant sites, you get 306 low-income units from those properties alone. That's nearly the amount the chart claims will be generated by a full build-out of every property in the sector plan, 338 units. Add the eventual total of 86 low-income units in Westwood Tower, and you exceed the full build-out figure planners cite, with 392 units at barely 50% build-out.

Then consider the potential units that Equity One will have to add if the percentage is bumped up to 15%, and all of the unknown units generated along River Road at 75' heights everywhere, and the unsettled 97' tower planned for the Washington Episcopal School site, and the biggest wild card, the library site.

You're talking about hundreds more units than what the chart claims, potentially over 1000 low-income residents stranded away from Metro and County services, and the biggest low-income housing dump in a Montgomery County community in history.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is great, everyone has been complaining about the lack of affordable housing and our county is taking action and bringing in more!

Anonymous said...

This article could have started with "Whereas we already got our fair share of Coloreds in Westbard..."

Anonymous said...

Amazing news! Glad to hear the county is trying to add more affordable housing. We've all been complaining about it day in and out so it's nice to hear the county actually listening to us. Kudos to the county council!

Westbard Concerned Citizens said...

Dear 12:48:

Who is "we all"? Day in and day out?

In fact, "we all" have been complaining about the dumping of 4000+ people on Westbard Ave. The type of housing is secondary to the number of people that the County Council wants us to absorb.

Anonymous said...

To 1:30,

Who hasn't been complaining about affordable housing in Montgomery county?

Hey as a serious question, can you itemize the reasons why Westbard isn't the spot for 4,000+ people?

Anonymous said...

So the real truth comes out why current Westbard residents are against Equity One's development. They don't want "low income" people near them.

Anonymous said...

@ 3:37 pm - Westbarders would be just fine with Honey Boo Boo's family moving in. It's not about "income".

Westbard Concerned Citizens said...

Dear Friend 3:34:

I regard your question as unserious. If you're taking time to comment on the Robert Dyer blog, surely you are well aware of the myriad reasons that this community has set forth repeatedly before the Council. I'll pass on doing your homework for you. Or, do you not actually live in Westbard but for some reason feel compelled to comment? Please let us know where you live.

Regards

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is probably Equity One's PR firm.

Robert Dyer said...

3:37: So your position is that more low-income housing should be placed away from Metro and social services in residential areas like Westbard, rather than in downtown Bethesda?

And your position is that all of the affordable units certain developers were let of the hook for in downtown Bethesda should now be dumped in one small community at Westbard?

And your position is that a population of low-income residents that equals the existing population of the Springfield neighborhood should be dropped in along with the thousands of other new residents into a 2 block area?

DO TELL!

3:34: "Hey, as a serious question," did you know Westbard is not within walking distance to Metro, meaning adding "4000+ people" would be sprawl development?

Robert Dyer said...

10:13: Any news on the construction of affordable mansions in Potomac and Burning Tree? That's not happening? Why not? Because the developers live there?

Robert Dyer said...

9:02: You posted the same comment twice. The County is planning to demolish more existing affordable housing than will be added at Westbard. So they're not bringing in "more." But of what little they're providing, they are planning to dump most of it into one area (Westbard), and away from transit and services. Both are violations of best practices in planning. What planet are you speaking to us from?

Anonymous said...

By Dyer's definition, Georgetown would be "sprawl development".

As well as all those apartment buildings on Connecticut Avenue between Van Ness and Chevy Chase Circle.

And once again, he pretends that bus transit doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

Dear "Citizen":

We regard you as a pretentious windbag.

Anonymous said...

How odd that Dyer thinks that all apartment buildings MUST be located within half a mile of a Metro station, yet office parks and regional shopping centers don't need to be.

Robert Dyer said...

7:17: Bus transit is not rapid transit. Those buildings are closer to Metro than Westbard.

7:22: The developers? The Council?

7:48: Office parks and shopping centers aren't high-density. Wake up.

Anonymous said...

6:52 is probably Dyer's mom

Anonymous said...

7:17 has a good point. Georgetown and many other areas such as along Connecticut have no metro access and have higher densities of housing. Would that be a bad thing in your opinion? Is that density working out or poorly so?

Anonymous said...

How far is Georgetown to metro? How far is Westbard to metro?

Robert Dyer said...

9:16 is probably realizing he lost the debate.

9:19: Wait, you're telling us how it is at Westbard, but you don't know how far it is from Metro? Been in town long? Are you living in one of those Extended Stay hotels?

9:18: Many of those buildings were constructed before Metro existed. They are still closer to Metro than Westbard. There are several buildings in Westbard that are non-conforming. What you could get away with building years ago, you can't today - unless you pay the Council enough campaign money, of course.

Anonymous said...

I love how Dyer says that "Westbard is too far from Metro" then demands that apartments be built in Burning Tree and Potomac.

9:19 PM: You couldn't even wait two minutes to respond? LOL

9:24 PM: What does it mean to "get away with building" something?

Anonymous said...

"Office parks and shopping centers aren't high-density. Wake up."

LOL. Of course they are. You're insane.

Robert Dyer said...

9:43: You're insane - you just compared them to high-rise apartments. Totally different.

9:38: No, I'm asking you why you aren't advocating for non-smart-growth sprawl in other areas away from Metro, such as the ones where the developers and their attorneys themselves live.

"What does it mean to get away with building something?"

It means you couldn't build those structures today, but could under looser zoning years ago. Get yourself a good dictionary.

Anonymous said...

From Google Maps it looks like Foggy Bottom - GWU metro is about 1 mile to the center of Georgetown and Westbard is about 1.5 miles to Friendship Heights metro.

Robert said...

"Is probably realizing he lost the debate"
"No, I'm asking you why you aren't advocating..."

- Robert Dyer

These two comments perfectly illustrate the reason so many people are frustrated with Robert Dyer.

There can be a conversation and dialog without everything having to be a competitive debate. Sometimes you learn things that may change your perspective. But when the person trying to explain an alternate view insults and is combative....

And no, Robert Dyer isn't asking, he's insisting that everyone agree with his position. And then more often than not offering up a heck of a lot of believable or convincing evidence.

Anonymous said...

Exactly!

Anonymous said...

"Get yourself a good dictionary", says Dyer. I love the way he imagines that there are these "dictionaries" out there somewhere that support his gibberish.

Let's look at some of Dyer's "definitions":

-The term "density" applies only to apartments, not to office parks or large shopping centers, which also generate traffic.

-The terms "sprawl" and "density" are interchangeable.

-The terms "permitted to" and "get away with" are interchangeable.

-Bus transit absolutely cannot be considered as a criterion for "smart growth".

-Location relative to other densely developed areas, such as downtown Washington DC, downtown Bethesda, Friendship Heights/Tenleytown, or Silver Spring absolutely cannot be considered as a criterion for "smart growth". Westbard is no different than Potomac, Clarksburg or Hagerstown.

Thus, "smart growth" means one thing, and one thing only to Dyer - "don't build apartments in Westbard". And it is a dog-whistle for "don't let THOSE people into Westbard". Once you understand that, everything makes starts to make sense.

Anonymous said...

Good points!

Anonymous said...

What does "low income" mean in Montgomery County? Anything under $100,000? These units sold at below-market price are still unaffordable to actual low-income people.

Anonymous said...

Non-stop, free shuttles between new Westbard, Friendship Heights Metro, and Bethesda Metro/Purple Line. Boom! Problem solved. I will take my consulting fees in unmarked $100 bills.

Anonymous said...

A bus along River Road between Westbard and Tenleytown Metro station would be nice, too.

Robert said...

Because Dyer tends to delete links to pertinent information, I'm splitting my response in two.

1 of 2

Here is the Montgomery County MPDU rental requirements URL
http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DHCA/housing/singlefamily/mpdu/programrental.html

Anonymous said...

Extending Willard Avenue directly west starting at the big curve, to where the Giant is now, would also be nice.

Robert said...

Because Dyer tends to delete links to pertinent information, I'm splitting my response in two.

2 of 2

Here's the requirements
Maximum Income
Garden Apartments High-Rise Apartments
1 $49,500 $53,500
2 $57,000 $61,000
3 $64,000 $69,000
4 $71,000 $76,500
5 $76,500 $82,500

So to rent a county affordable housing unit you can make up to $82,500 for you. Certainly not flush with dough but much better than in the poor house.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:01 AM - See @ 3:45 PM.

Anonymous said...

"Because Dyer tends to delete links to pertinent information, I'm splitting my response in two."

Let's see whose comment gets deleted first...

Dyer was born in Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Westbard is right on the Capital Crescent Trail, and it even has its own Capital Bikeshare station. And the Bethesda Metro station has bike lockers, and there are other Capital Bikeshare stations throughout downtown Bethesda, Friendship Heights, and Tenleytown, including stations right at the three Metro stations. So convenient for those who do not wish to drive!

Anonymous said...

Oh that's great that Westbard has Capital Bikeshare. Guess they consider it close in for their network

Anonymous said...

So what's it about?

Anonymous said...

Interesting, 7:49AM. I've never, ever had a link deleted by Dyer. Maybe try one without a vulgar or insulting comment? Or is that your goal?

BTW, those MoCo links aren't new. Someone posted a week or two ago and they didn't get deleted.

7:35 Why are you ignoring all the other programs and focusing only on the one?

Anonymous said...

Amazing the abuse Robert has to take when he stands up against bad development plans!

Anonymous said...

Amazing the abuse the county has to take when they stand up for good development plans!

Anonymous said...

Amazing the abuse the developer has to take when they stand up for good development plans!

Anonymous said...

So what are these "services" that Dyer keeps claiming that apartment dwellers will need? Probation/parole offices? Methadone clinics? "Welfare" offices?

Anonymous said...

It's truly disgusting that a trust-fund baby like Dyer would oppose any effort to get affordable housing for working Montgomery County residents.

Anonymous said...

How do all the low income folks that work in the fast food and supermarkets in Westbard currently get to their jobs without Metro access? Do they just sleep in the storage rooms?

Limbaugh said...

7:25
You sound like you solved the $10, 000 question, but actually you deserve a free T2 bus pass to your Fantasyland. What good is done by adding non-stop shuttle buses when the buses don't move.

For one, 9 out of 10 people in this zip code drive daily, either the Mercedes or the Beamer, sometimes the Porsche Cayenne, depends how sexy they're feeling.

Second, River Road is already at capacity, 17, 000 cars daily and growing, top 10 busiest in Montgomery County, per SHA letter.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the anti Dyer trolls are out en masse. Ignore ignore ignore...

Anonymous said...

No one living on Westbard Avenue, lower income or ultra rich, will start out every morning for the hour walk to Friendship Heights Metro. Total fantasy. No one is doing that now.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't take "an hour" to walk from Westbard, unless you have some kind of disability. Less than half that time for most walkers.

That said, just establish a free shuttle bus. That would get you there in five minutes.

Savage said...

9:09
I agree it doesn't take an hour to walk 1.5 miles miles to Friendship Hts then double it to go home, the point is almost Nobody does it in this area and they're damn well not starting now because of Westbard Urbanization they don't want. The current traffic problems are already a serious problem for those of us who live here with no real solutions proposed.



Council Plan #1-
Deal with it everything will be fine. Same with the school overcrowding problems.
Council Plan #2-
See plan #1

Anonymous said...

I get what you're saying about no one walking 1.5m (although I just did 1.25 and back yesterday. Hardly can say no one wants the Westbard development though. County seems to be allowing much of it, the developer seems to think there is a demand to build it, and the absorption rates in the area are very good. It'll probably lease up fairly quickly, which would mean people do want it.

Robert Dyer said...

1:29: There's demand for prostitutes and cocaine, too, but that doesn't necessarily mean you want them in your neighborhood.

Robert Dyer said...

12:09: Congratulations, you just named 3 of the most "popular". None are good selling points, though. Let's stick to upgrading the shopping center.

Robert Dyer said...

12:16: It'a "truly disgusting" that some on the Council want to teach children that they're entitled to all the best in life without any effort or work.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dyer,

Hasn't the PHED committee decided on the library site? You are saying that they are yet to decide. Can you clarify?

Anonymous said...

4:45 AM - So what do you actually do for a living and what is your source of income?

And why do you keep claiming that you don't need a job to rent an MPDU apartment?

Anonymous said...

Upgrade the shopping center and bring in more minimum wage jobs? How are those low-income employees suppose to get there without public transit?

Without public transit really the only option is to demolish everything there and lay down some sod. The rabbits will manage to get there without public transit.

Robert Dyer said...

5:19: Yes, they decided yesterday (I just uploaded my article on yesterday's session) to leave mention of housing on library site out of the plan (but it will automatically be considered for housing under current county policy if it is torn down in the future).

4:45: What is the source of income for other local reporters? Have you investigated? How are they making a living in Bethesda? Do tell!

Anonymous said...

I think seeing disclosure of the financial backers of other existing and failed Bethesda blogs would be more interesting reading than Dyer's tax returns.

Anonymous said...

The source of income for other reporters is being a reporter.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to Dyer to compare apartments to "prostitutes and cocaine".

Anonymous said...

You wanna see the tax return for the guy who successfully monetized his Bethesda blog with a sale?

Anonymous said...

Let's see disclosure of the financial backers of other existing and failed Bethesda blogs. So far, they won't release that info. Why not?

More important info than salaries of local reporters, who we all know make nothing.

Anonymous said...

It's time for Equity One's PR firm to stand down and cease the anonymous comments attacking Robert Dyer here!

Robert Dyer said...

9:53: Can you really live in this area on a $35000 reporter salary? Do you really believe that? Are you asking them for full details? Do tell!

Robert Dyer said...

12:09: Oh, yeah - the angel investors. A.K.A. dark money. Who's behind their curtains?

Robert Dyer said...

12:01: That guy lives in Virginia and sold it for $1. A hefty sale price would be publicly announced Baba Booey.

Anonymous said...

That's libelous!!! And without proof too.

Anonymous said...

All the Dyer fans who actually believe it's a PR firm for developers or county council members or another blog/website - just goes to show how much proof Dyer supporters need to believe some crazy idea. Facts.

Anonymous said...

1:54AM - comment by developer's PR person.

Anonymous said...

8:54 AM - comment by Dyer's shill. Or Mom. Or brother.

See how that works both ways without a shred of evidence?

Anonymous said...

Where was it ever publicly stated as $1?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't kraut live on battery lane and frugally so? Seems reasonable. Meanwhile your situation isn't quite explained. So therefore there are questions.

Anonymous said...

A majority don't want prostitutes and cocaine. A minority don't want Westbard. No matter how loud that minority is.

Anonymous said...

And it seems Dyer just compared Westbard housing, grocery stores, parks, retail... To prostitutes and cocaine.

This, ladies and gentleman, was the losing county council candidate.

Robert Dyer said...

6:31: If it's a minority, how do you explain your side having so few people in support? And of those, most live away from the site like in Glen Echo Heights or Bannockburn, or even in the District.

"Silent majority" is total BS. You could claim that about anything.

Sorry, we have a process, and you either participate or you don't. If people were passionate about something, they would turn out to support it. They haven't, so they either oppose it, or don't give a ____ either way what happens.

Robert Dyer said...

6:29: There are questions about every local reporter. Forge on until you can tell us more about how their "situation." You also haven't filled us in on the angel investors. Who are they? Do tell!

Anonymous said...

If it were total BS then why the high absorption rate of all this crazy expensive housing if demand isn't there?

Anonymous said...

Oh it wasn't? That's right, it's a made up number? But Dyer wouldn't do that, right? Make up numbers? He wouldn't just make up or pretend to know someone else's motives and margins? No, he would surely only make educated decisions and statements based on research and data, not just gut feelings. He wouldn't just pose questions and not follow up on them. He's not that kind of reporter. He's so much more of a follow through kind of person.