Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Westbard sector plan appears headed for approval by County Council

Plan as it stands would
now bring 3555 people, 
2618 cars, 1011 low-income 
residents to 1.5-block area

The Montgomery County Council largely upheld the recommendations of the PHED Committee regarding the Westbard sector plan yesterday, as councilmembers took series of straw votes ahead of the final vote that may come next month. Before adjourning, Councilmembers George Leventhal and Nancy Navarro declared their support for the plan.

Here are the aspects of the plan that were confirmed via straw votes on Tuesday:

  • The naturalization of Willett Branch is "fading as a priority," in the words of Council President Nancy Floreen
  • Low-income housing was declared the primary public "amenity", despite the fact that it is only an amenity for the low-income resident in it, not the community at large
  • The "private shuttle" between Westbard and Metro is either a sham or dead altogether - the language in the plan approved yesterday does not actually require the developers to operate it, much less keep it running in perpetuity. If it does happen, it will be sham. First, the shuttle will give the sponsoring developer(s) a density bonus, making building heights higher, and negating whatever minimal traffic relief the shuttle represents. Second, Council staff indicated that if the shuttle is a success, it will be turned into a Ride On route. That would not only leave you, the taxpayer, holding the bag for an expensive shuttle that merely existed to give developers a density bonus, but would also slash whatever ridership there was for the free shuttle
  • The Greenway Park by the Willett Branch is also in doubt, as are any significant pedestrian or cycling upgrades along River Road. Councilmember Roger Berliner has suggested a study of less-drastic pedestrian improvements along River Road that could be funded in the short-term. It was noted, however, that 28 other parts of the County are currently awaiting funding from the Council for similar upgrades
  • Heights will exceed those stated in the plan, with the possible exception of the 110' Capital Properties building proposed for the Park Bethesda site. I say "possible," because while CP is restricted from raising its height via density bonuses for the 25% low-income housing it will offer, what about density bonuses it could earn via other options such as the shuttle bus?
  • Equity One will be able to move its 15% low-income housing requirement among its various parcels, as it will file one single site plan for all of them
  • The Council, at the request of Berliner, reduced the commercial F.A.R. of the future Westwood Shopping Center site from 1.0 to 0.75
  • Heights on the Manor Care site were reduced from 55' to 45', but the Council still did not specify why residents on one end of Westbard would be protected by 35' tall townhomes, but residents on the other end would be stuck with 45'
  • Deciding whether to leave a floating zone on the American Plant/Roof Center/Talbert's site, or outright upzone it to 75' for over 300 apartments, was the only real contentious item of the session. Councilmembers Floreen, Navarro, Craig Rice and Sidney Katz voted to outright upzone it, but lost the vote 5-4, meaning the landowners would have to come back to the Council for approval
  • The Westwood Tower and Kenwood Professional Building, two non-conforming high-rises, were grandfathered into the new plan, meaning they could now be torn down and replaced with something taller when the Purple Line is extended. Terrible mistake, and clearly a placeholder for the Purple Line
  • Supposedly the grand total of units approved in straw votes yesterday is 1378, including the 165 units already approved for the 100' senior housing project on the Washington Episcopal School site
  • 1378 units (assuming this is accurate) would = 3555 people and 2618 cars jammed into a 1.5-block area; 1011 would be low-income residents taking into account the low-income units on the HOC and Capital Properties sites, which includes a doubling of the low-income units at Westwood Tower
  • Both the useless short through-lane and proposed right turn lane on outbound River Road at Little Falls Parkway were eliminated by the full council
  • The Council had absolutely no discussion about how to retain small businesses in the Westwood Shopping Center and Westwood Center II
Of course, residents could not leave the worksession without another condescending lecture from Councilmember George Leventhal, who said he understood the plan he supports "is displeasing to some residents." Actually, it is indisputably displeasing to the vast majority of residents, as evidenced by the overwhelming opposition to the plan expressed by residents at public hearings, charettes, and via written communciation.

"There is concern when you love your neighborhood," Leventhal continued, "that the neighborhood might change. Change is threatening."

Navarro cited the standard canard most-memorably promoted by former Planning Director Rollin Stanley - "they" are coming, growth will happen anyway, and we need to provide the needed housing and manage that inevitable growth. Nothing could be further from the truth - if you don't provide the housing, "they" can't come.

In a Freudian slip, Councilmember Hans Riemer promised the plan would lead to the "creation of a town center." He predicted the Council's approval of it, likely to come as early as late April, "will be looked back upon as a great decision." Of course, it may also be looked back upon as the moment in which some councilmembers lost their seats in 2018.

Again and again, the handful of supporters of the plan refer to the aging Westwood Shopping Center as justification for the plan. This is hogwash, of course, as Equity One would be forced to upgrade or build a new shopping center to remain a viable retail property even without the incentives delivered in this plan.


Anonymous said...

Verbal dump.

Anonymous said...

"residents on one end of Westbard would be protected by 35' tall townhomes"

How does a townhome "protect" you from a high-rise? Do they keep you from getting high-rise cooties?

"The Westwood Tower and Kenwood Professional Building, two non-conforming high-rises, were grandfathered into the new plan, meaning they could now be torn down and replaced with something taller when the Purple Line is extended. Terrible mistake, and clearly a placeholder for the Purple Line."

Dyer doesn't have the slightest idea of what he is talking about.

Anonymous said...

What's the difference from the SFH to the 35' and 45' buildings? Is there anything between them such as a road or other?

Anonymous said...

"1378 units (assuming this is accurate) would = 3555 people and 2618 cars jammed into a 1.5-block area; 1011 would be low-income residents"

Once again, Dyer is conflating "moderate-income" with "low-income". And he claims that more than 28% of all the new residents would be "low-income".

Once again, Dyer doesn't know, or is intentionally distorting, what a "block" is. The stretch of Westbard Avenue between Ridgefield Road and Crown Street is 0.4 miles; Dyer has repeatedly claimed that this is "one block", ignoring the fact that in most cities, "one block" is 0.125 miles. In the Woodmont Triangle, the blocks along Norfolk Avenue are 0.05 miles long (as in Manhattan), and the blocks between Norfolk Avenue and Old Georgetown Road are 0.125 miles long. That stretch of Westbard Avenue is at least 4 blocks long and as much as 8 blocks long.

Anonymous said...

I hope that they expand River Road to 300 feet wide, like they are proposing to do with Rockville Pike. That would be awesome!

Anonymous said...

Replace all those businesses with a single super-store containing an Amazon pick-up site, a Peapod pick-up site, a prescription counter, a privatized dispensary including beer and wine, and a couple of robotic barbers. Oh, and 15 EV charging stations.

Trump said...

6 :07
Are you completely out of your mind or simply don't understand the logistics? Stop your incoherent comments. There are established neighborhoods already here since the 50's that aren't going anywhere. These neighborhoods are 100% built out and have no room for expansion. The idiotic plan for a 2 block through lane near Somerset Village was shot down faster than the next supreme court nominee.

What was most shocking in the meeting was the arrogance toward the citizens of our community being told how we need to accept change and this plan? Huh? Why, cause Leventhal said so??? Not

Also, I'm still trying to figure out how large amounts of low-income housing would be considered a public amenity? What kind of backward ass logic is that?

Easy for the council to make such ridiculous statements since they will not be inconvenienced in the least.

Anonymous said...

5:59 - developer post

Anonymous said...

7:17 - shill post

See how this works?

Anonymous said...

No need to insult me. Name-calling is no substitute for wit.

Anonymous said...

Obviously we should have made the area a historic landmark when we had the chance. They unpaved paradise and put in middle income housing.

Anonymous said...

In what universe are MPDUs for "low-income" people? By definition they're for those with moderate income (up to $53.5K for a single person, $61K for two person household). This whole "low-income" scare tactic Dyer relies on is pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why this blog insists that it is low-income. 53.3K is pretty good money for a single person. I doubt such a person would bring crime or need social services.

Anonymous said...

"These neighborhoods are 100% built out and have no room for expansion."

A neighborhood that consists of single-family homes on quarter-acre lots is hardly "100% built out".

"What was most shocking in the meeting was the arrogance toward the citizens of our community being told how we need to accept change and this plan?"

Because you don't own that land, duh.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:41 AM - And it must include a Yankee Candle counter. No shopping center is complete unless you can buy Yankee Candles there!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Johnson said...

No Mr. Berliner, Westbard residents are beginning to understand that our elected officials are failing us in a big way. We do not want to live in a cramped condo unit like you (probably forgot the insulation in the walls) with concierge service in a large concrete mega towncenter like you. We like our homes,schools, stores, playgrounds, the grass and trees and birds unlike where you live.

Oh, and the fact that the Council stated that low-income housing is the #1 public amenity of the entire plan is a complete joke! Kids, let's go hang out at the HUD apartment. Could you please explain the reasoning there. Yes, some low-income housing is a good thing, especially for the local workforce, but how does it benefit the general public?

Finally, how is adding 2 more traffic signals going to improve the already overcrowded River Road endless traffic problems or for that matter adding free shuttle buses. Senseless.

Anonymous said...

Johnson... please explain how moderate income housing = HUD projects. We can not all be lawyers, doctors, and bloggers. But we make enough to take care of ourselves and be comfortable. Sorry if the stench of people making less than 100K a year offends you and your children.

Anonymous said...

"In a Freudian slip, Councilmember Hans Riemer promised the plan would lead to the 'creation of a town center'."

How is this a "Freudian slip"? Do you know what that term actually means? How is it any kind of "slip", even?

Here are some examples of actual "Freudian slips":

* "[Kanye West] tweeted: 'Up early in the morning taking meetings in Silicone Valley.'

An hour later he reali[z]ed (or was alerted to) his mistake, adding: 'Lol I spelled Silicon wrong (I guess I was still thinking about the other type of silicone.)'"

* "In 2010 Radio 4's Today [program] presenter James Naughtie accidentally introduced Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt as Jeremy C * live on air.

He later apologi[z]ed, saying he 'got into an awful tangle' and explained he mixed up the words 'Hunt' and 'Culture'."

* "[I]n 2012 [Prince William] was accidentally referred to on US news channel CBS as 'the douche of Cambridge'.

Keeping his cool, journalist Rob Morrison hastily read the sentence again, managing to correct it to 'Duke'."

* "[Former US President George W. Bush was] asked about his Midland, Texas upbringing.

'It was just inebriating what Midland was all about then', he said.

It's not clear what he really meant but as a heavy drinker in his youth, he was well placed to talk about inebriation."

Anonymous said...

"In a Freudian slip, Councilmember Hans Riemer referred to a local blogger as 'Robert Douche'."

Anonymous said...

Oh, lookie... "Jefferson/Madison/McKinley" is now "Johnson". Andrew or Lyndon?

Anonymous said...

Has Leventhal yelled at anyone yet this week?

Anonymous said...

@ 9:42 AM -

"Meanwhile, shut up, you moron."

"You imbecile! God, what a lowlife, lying moron you are. Unbelievable."

"You're also a complete [expletive] moron. You imbecile! What a lowlife, lying moron you are. Unbelievable."

"I'd say you're the birdbrain, but that would be an insult to the avian community."

I agree, no one who talks that way to the people of Montgomery County, should be allowed to serve on the County Council.

Anonymous said...

That makes little sense.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a good thing.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hahah. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

"We like our homes,schools, stores, playgrounds, the grass and trees and birds unlike where you live."

Your home sure. Schools to a certain degree, sure.

Stores. Playgrounds. Grass. Trees. Birds. Not a right of yours by any mean on someone else's property.

Anonymous said...

9:59am obviously doesn't know about Leventhal's outbursts at county staff :)
George Leventhal isn't a model for professionalism. Good thing his friends in local media pump him up (hi Steve)

Anonymous said...

I think that Robert Dyer has it right. The problem was that the Planning Board put. Us in such a high density box that even the slight reduction that we got looks like a victory. The real bad guy, in my view, is the MNCPP Planning Board. And to think that we pay millions to support them. How do we get rid of the Planning Board?

I am distressed to hear talk of the Purple Line coming south of Bethesda. I thought that the Highway Act precluded transportation on parkland, which the Capital Crescent Trail south of Bethesda is.

Anonymous said...

After reading Robert's great reporting on Westbard, I conclude that neither the Council nor the Planning Board are working for MoCo residents.

It's time to look at who they're working for and who is funding them. Why is Reimer getting checks from Bain Capital? What are developers getting in return for all of their campaign contributions? They certainly got what they wanted on Westbard, over the 99% of residents who were against this insane plan.

Anonymous said...

What does a $500 campaign contribution from Bain Capital have to do with the proposed development in Westbard?

Anonymous said...

Nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

Well someone was voted in and someone wasn't. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Robert for yet another well detailed Westbard plan summary.

Congratulations liberal (not me) Montgomery County voters, your 100% democratic progressive board seems destined to push the Westbard plan through in a few short weeks. This is being done despite overwhelming opposition by the entire community for decreased density. Time to consider other more conservative options in 2018.

Can a liberal please explain to me how low-income housing is a public amenity?
If someone needs their housing subsidized because they live in an area they can't afford, why should someone elses taxes pay for it? Shouldn't they simply live somewhere else?

Because the MOCO council dictates that they should live here in large numbers?

Anonymous said...

"Can a liberal please explain to me how low-income housing is a public amenity?"

1) It's not "low-income housing". It's moderate-income housing.

2) It gives the businesses that serve your community a larger pool of potential employees.

3) I'm sorry that the thought of black and hispanic people living in your community, scares you so.

Anonymous said...

1. Ok fine, moderate income housing they can't afford on their own without a subsidy? That sounds like the ACA but a housing handout, really not so good.

2. Our stores looked to be fully staffed before all this as far as I could tell. So your reasoning is these people will work at the Urban epicenter. How much shall they be paid? Who will decide the hours they will work? See where I'm going with this crap.

3. Why do liberals always bring up the race card, can they not achieve
good things in life on their own by working hard? Why do they always need so many freebies?

G. Money said...

4:55 - So I take it you are against all zoning laws and other public determination of appropriate land use?

Robert Dyer said...

7:45: Wrong! You cleverly use the wording "up to $XX,XXX" to cover up that these are available to low-income. And neglect to mention that nearly half of MPDUs must by law be offered to the HOC for low income housing. It's low-income.

Hans Riemer and the Council believe that, rather than make all schools and neighborhoods high-quality, you instead drag the successful ones like Westbard down to the lowest common denominator.

Robert Dyer said...

7:53: Maybe because it's an indisputable fact? You're citing the high-end of the income scale, and trying to deceive people. The Council applauds you.

Ask the folks in King Farm, Clarksburg and Damascus if low-income housing brings crime or not.

Robert Dyer said...

7:59: Glad you're honest about your extreme belief that Kenwood and Springfield should be bulldozed for more Soviet apartment blocs.

Even Dan Reed acknowledged this would never happen, and instead proposed making homes in 20816 into boarding houses. Both of you are, oh, maybe a little out of the mainstream, but we hope you can join us here on planet Earth eventually.

The County Council owns the land? You're not helping yourself with crazy statements like that.

Robert Dyer said...

10:05: The developers have no right, either, under the current zoning of their properties.

Robert Dyer said...

9:12: Maybe because those units are available to very low-income people, and even the unemployed in some cases?

Robert Dyer said...

9:15: Where did you go to school?

"Freudian slip: (noun) an unintentional error regarded as revealing subconscious feelings."

Hans Riemer personally favors urbanizing the suburbs. Hence, his description of the "New Westbard" as a "town center", totally out of sync with official messaging for the project, was indeed an unintentional error regarded as revealing subconscious feelings.

9:59: However, those who speak thusly to nefarious agents of the County Council and MoCo political cartel indeed deserve election to the Council.

10:44: Standard "good cop, bad cop" tactics by the Planning Board and County Council. The Purple Line plan and illegal ability to use minor master plan amendments are the only reason they didn't green light the rest of River Road. Amazing what they can do with those restrictions on running transit through parkland when they want to, such as the Purple Line cutting across Rock Creek Park.

4:04: 1) It is indeed low-income housing.
2) They're having no trouble filling the retail/restaurant jobs in Westbard right now. Your solution is in search of a problem.
3) Hate to give you a "scare," but there are already black and Latino residents on Westbard Avenue right now.

4:55: They play the race card when they've lost the argument on the facts, and when they want to allow growth that doesn't fit their previous definition of "smart growth."

Anonymous said...

"Even Dan Reed...proposed making homes in 20816 into boarding houses."

LOL, Wut???

Robert Dyer said...

11:23: Yep. He said they had to find a way to urbanize even the wealthy communities in the County, but that it was unlikely they could demolish such expensive large homes. He didn't explain how the wealthy owners who currently occupy them would vanish in order to make this possible, though. More Maoist fantasy from the MoCo political cartel. And then you remember this guy was actually a staff member of...George Leventhal! Who said on July 3, 2013 that the suburbs were "a mistake." And proudly announced his support for this Westbard plan on Tuesday. Scary.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any direct quotes from Reed, or do you expect us to rely on your usual wildly distorted hearsay?

Robert Dyer said...

5:35: His article is still available for all to read online. No hearsay, just facts.

Anonymous said...

"If someone needs their housing subsidized because they live in an area they can't afford, why should someone elses taxes pay for it? Shouldn't they simply live somewhere else?"

That's the entire point, genius - it's not "someone elses [sic] taxes." It's a requirement placed on the developer; it saves public taxes from having to be spent on subsidizing moderate income households. And no, MoCo's teachers and firefighters shouldn't be forced to go live outside the county at night. That'd make for a shit job pool and a shit community.

Anonymous said...

Dyer clearly doesn't know how MPDUs work. Dyer: if you didn't have your mom's basement available to you, you'd likely be living in an MPDU right now. Maybe don't be such a dick about a program that costs taxpayers effectively nothing and helps tens of thousands of moderate income households.

Anonymous said...

Dyer @ 6:03 AM - Why don't you link to it, or at least provide the date and title?

Anonymous said...

"Dyer: if you didn't have your mom's basement available to you, you'd likely be living in an MPDU right now."

Not likely. You need to have a job to have one of those.

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, Dyer doesn't get much wrong, although the Leventhal comment, which is still available for all to see was dated July 2nd on CC video archives. It would not surprise me if Dan Reed said something as idiotic as the boarding houses comment. Dan is an idealogue pushing his urbanist agenda and prancing in parades dressed as the Purple Line.

It is pathetic to read the mostly incoherent retorts to Robert Dyer, which tend to quickly degenerate into petty taunts and insults lacking any greater subtance.

Robert Dyer, like his political vision or not, is one of the most clear thinkers around.

And to quote Robert Dyer, sometime reading those silly comebacks to him I just have to say, "huh?"

Anonymous said...

"Robert Dyer is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life."

Anonymous said...

For those who believe Westbard needs an infusion, you can sign on to this petition for a change in the status quo:

Anonymous said...

7:44 AM
ROTFLMFAO, ROTFPIMP. That's the best Sugar-Honey-Ice-Tea I've heard all day.

Robert said...

Clear thinkers? Not sure I would agree to that. Perhaps if he provided some more supporting evidence for his opinions.

Anonymous said...

What counts as low-income to you? Please define it since you obviously have your personal definition you are working from. How poor does someone need to be when you no longer want them in your neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

@ 6:59 AM - Why did you use the word "prancing"? Just curious.

Robert Dyer said...

6:20: Most firefighters and police officers DO live outside the County, thanks to your MoCo political cartel's high-tax policies. Yet, both our police force and fire and rescue services boast arguably the best and most qualified men and women in the region. So it hasn't hurt their "job pool" at all.

Having said that, the majority of low-income housing units does not go to teachers and firefighters, even though the programs are sold to the public that way.

Robert Dyer said...

6:24: Actually, it's low income, not "moderate income".

Anonymous said...

And the facts go in one of Dyer's ear, and out the other.

Anonymous said...


Prancing is what he was doing, not exactly dancing, but walking and doing little jumps. Prancing is pretty much the right descriptive word. Why? Does prancing connote something different for you?

Anonymous said...

One could also say Dan was capering down the street dressed as the business end of the Purple Line with little paper plate wheels attached to his legs.

What some folks will do...

Anonymous said...

I love the detail with which you describe Dan Reed's movements. Is it possible that you have a crush on him?

Anonymous said...

Uh oh there's a Dan Reed stalker among Robert Dyer supporters!

Anonymous said...

Reed has a Purple Line costume?

Anonymous said...

He does indeed. And he pranced and capered in the parade...if you are lucky, maybe one day he may bring his fancy steps to a parade route near you.

Anonymous said...

Agree in part and disagree in part with Robert's blog.


1. Fears about "low income" housing are overblown. The project approved by the Council on March 22 requires 182 affordable units (15% of 1,213). A majority of these will be MPDUs (moderately priced dwelling units), which are leased to households earning $30,000-$61,000 (2 earner households.) These households are screened very carefully on the basis of employment history, credit history and references. The affordable housing delivered by Park Bethesda and Equity One (a majority of the affordable units) will be MPDUs in mixed-income buildings.
At issue are the apartments to be owned by the Housing Opportunities Commission: the unit mix for these dwellings might include senior housing, moderate-income housing, or "low income" housing. It is necessary to determine the use of the HOC units to determine the extent to which "low income" housing delivery will occur at Westbard. Again, over half of the affordable housing, at minimum, will be MPDUs.

2. Fears about the Purple Line are overblown. It is highly unlikely that the Purple Line will traverse Westbard because the Purple Line is forbidden to cross the Capital Crescent Trail under federal law.


1. The March 22 plan adds considerable density and height on the Giant site and along Ridgefield Road and Westbard Avenue. Planned residential development will add ~2600 residents and at least 2,000 cars. Because the Council does not control capital planning for schools (the responsibility of Montgomery County Public Schools) and River Road (the State Highway Administration), it is unclear whether infrastructure capacity will be sufficient to support the project. That said, the March 22 compromise roughly halves the plan originally proposed by the Planning Board, which is indeed a plus.

2. Thus far, it is unclear whether the much-touted greenbelt and stream daylighting will be delivered. Requirements that the developers deliver 15% affordable units (instead of the usual 12.5%) means that they are likely to raise objections to fund a greenbelt and stream restoration. Final development requirements should impose the dedication of funds for the greenbelt and stream restoration, or require the County to fund these improvements from new tax dollars associated with the project. (March 22 testimony projected a tax surplus of over $200 million from Westbard redevelopment.)

3. Councilmembers Leventhal and Riemer, who proclaimed that *the* primary amenity of Westbard redevelopment is affordable housing, have it wrong. While affordable housing is much-needed and creates diversity, such housing is hardly a community amenity as the term is typically used. The subsidy to the occupants of affordable units reduces the financial performance of redevelopment and therefore might limit the delivery of public amenities (stream daylighting and greenbelt in the case of Westbard.) It is more appropriate to balance the delivery of affordable housing with the delivery of other developer-funded amenities, especially as residents have been promised a greenbelt and Willett Branch daylighting in order to compensate for added density and height in a suburban location.

Anonymous said...

1:55 PM again. One more point on which I agree with Robert Dyer:

4. Why are 45-foot building heights appropriate for townhomes on Ridgefield Road, while 35-foot heights are supported for a site near Westbard Mews? It would be nice to have 35 foot heights on Ridgefield Road, which is immediately adjancent to single-family homes.

Anonymous said...

@7.53 AM:

The petition that you are promoting supports the version of the Westbard sector plan approved by the Planning Board and rejected by the County Council on March 22.

I've heard that this petition was started on behalf of the developers. I hope that the community will be very wary of this petition.

Anonymous said...

@10:44 am:

I agree with both your comments.

-The Planning Board is not accountable. In the case of Westbard, the Planning Board merely served as a rubber stamp for project developers. The Board added height and density to the Planning Department's recommendations, paying no heed to overwhelming community opposition.

-Planning Board chair Casey Anderson, who is said to command a $200,000 salary, is particularly objectionable. He affixed to the Planning Department's recommendations a 75-foot tall apartment project on the Little Falls Library site, despite the fact that *the project had not been previously disclosed to the public*. Anderson further described his upsized plan as a "consensus view," blatantly false in light of overwhelming opposition by area residents.

Why are my tax dollars paying for an unaccountable rubber stamp for developers?

On the Purple Line: you are correct that a transportation project cannot traverse federal parkland like the Capital Crescent Trail. Thus it is highly unlikely that the Purple Line would be extended to Westbard.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:28 PM: Only the part of the Capital Crescent Trail that is south of the DC line is "federal parkland". And there is no outright ban on "traversing" parkland, federal or otherwise, just a requirement that alternatives must be considered first. Nice try, Cletus.

Anonymous said...

I think the increase in vehicle traffic will be in the 3-4k range and could be disasterous this is why-

1. Since many of the lower-income units will be apartments, you could have 2 or 3 generations of a family in one unit alone.

2. The couples who buy the townhomes and the more expensive condos will have 2 cars at a minimum since there is no Metrorail. Folks who live around here don't ride the bus and never will period. Bethesdan's don't worry about fuel consumption.

3. I would hope that the redeveloped shopping center, preferably a smaller village type center, would have more stores, some restaurants, a Super Giant, thus more employees, shoppers, and cars.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:15 PM:

Why would apartments be more likely to hold 2 or 3 generation families? And what's so unusual about a "2 generation family"? Do you think that children and aging grandparents will be more, or less, likely to drive?

"Folks who live around here don't ride the bus and never will period."

How do you know that the new folks won't?

"A Super Giant"? Are you serious?

Robert Dyer said...

1:55: My number for affordable units takes into account the new HOC building, their planned doubling of low-income units in the existing Westwood Tower, and the 15% requirement on the 350-unit American Plant development, which is very likely to sail through the PB and Council if they give a token dedication of stream and road.

Robert Dyer said...

4:21: You are correct. I predict a big fight like we saw in Chevy Chase, but ultimately - as we also saw in Chevy Chase - the Montgomery County political cartel uniting their federal, state and judicial allies to crush resident objections.

Robert Dyer said...

5:15: The other objectives here for the Council:

1. Create urban density as argument to extend Purple Line.

2. Create "town center" as Riemer accidentally mentioned to facilitate creation of a special taxing district around Westbard town center.

3. Cause parking overflow from townhomes and apartments to facilitate paid parking in urban center, and PAID permit parking in surrounding neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:29 PM - And once again, Dyer conflates "moderate-income" and "low-income".

@ 9:32 PM - "The Montgomery County political cartel uniting their federal, state and judicial allies to crush resident objections."

Or maybe you could realize that you are part of a small band of whiners and malcontents.

@ 9:37 PM - "Create 'town center' as Riemer accidentally mentioned"

Wow, are you still stuck on this imaginary talking point, Dyer?

Robert Dyer said...

5:28: Read the regulations again. It's low-income housing.

You can't describe a majority of residents as "a small band".

Riemer said "town center," and that has been a forbidden phrase never used by planners, the Council or Equity One. Riemer had a Freudian slip. Oops.

Anonymous said...

"'Town center' [has] been a forbidden phrase never used by planners, the Council or Equity One."

It has?

Anonymous said...

"Read the regulations again. It's low-income housing."


What is your personal threshold for "low-income" vs. "moderate-income"?


Robert Dyer said...

5:39: You betcha. Their term was "main street", not town center.

Anonymous said...


I accept your statement that the Capital Crescent Trail is not classified as parkland north of the District. Thanks for the correction. But your conclusions are probably wrong nonetheless:

1)Quoting from a March 18 memo to the County Council: "The reason why the Purple Line will not be extended [from Bethesda to Georgetown] is because of the 1990 decision that the Georgetown Branch right of way south of Bethesda Avenue would be developed as a park....It is well-nigh impossible to get a [project] waiver for a line than would run along the length of a park."

2)The bar to using federal funds to construct transportation projects that interfere with park land and recreation sites is considerably higher than what you present as the "need to consider other alternatives".

The pertinent Supreme Court decision states that the law "is a plain and explicit bar to the use of federal funds for construction of highways through parks-only the most unusual situations are exempted" and that the existence of the statute "indicates that protection of parkland was to be given paramount importance." According to the U.S. Transportation Department: To use a park or recreation resource, Federal officials must find that alternatives to doing so present unique problems or unusual factors or that the cost, environmental impacts, or community disruption would reach extraordinary magnitude.

So the extension of the Purple Line from Bethesda to Georgetown, while not impossible, is highly unlikely.