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Jan 28 16

Montgomery County Council Will Hold Public Hearings for Westbard Sector Plan on February 2 and 4

by Bridget Schwiesow

PB draft_Westbard cover

Meetings at County Council Office Building in Rockville provide opportunities for the community to comment on the Planning Board Draft of the Plan

Silver Spring, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, approved the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan on December 17, 2015 for transmittal to the Montgomery County Council and Office of the County Executive. The Council has now scheduled two public hearings for this Sector Plan.

The first hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD, Council Hearing Room). This meeting was originally scheduled for January 26, but was rescheduled due to the recent snowstorm. It will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery Channels Comcast 6, RCN 6 and Verizon 30 and streamed live online. View the County Council Agenda webpage.

The Montgomery County Council will hold a second public hearing for the Westbard Sector Plan on Thursday, February 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD, Council Hearing Room). This meeting was  originally scheduled for January 26, but also had to be rescheduled due to the inclement weather. It will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery Channels Comcast 6, RCN 6 and Verizon 30 and streamed live online. View the County Council Agenda webpage.

Currently, there is a wait list to testify at these hearings but interested speakers can register online for a possible time slot or call 240-777-7803 for more information. Speakers can also provide written testimony by sending it by mail to the Montgomery County Council (100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850) or by email to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov. All testimony must be received by 10 a.m. on the day of the hearing to be added to the record.

Current Draft of Plan Reflects Changes from Work Sessions
The Planning Board previously held three work sessions on the Westbard Sector Plan to address schools, transportation, land uses, zoning, open spaces and historic and cultural resources. A fourth work session was held to finalize zoning language for specific properties in the Plan area. The Planning Board’s revisions are reflected in the newest draft of the Sector Plan.

These changes affect some building heights, address the need for community-serving uses, increase affordable housing requirements in certain circumstances and add restrictions to commercial uses in areas abutting single-family residential neighborhoods.

View the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan.

Background on the Westbard Sector Plan
The new Sector Plan is the first effort since 1982 to develop a unified vision for Bethesda’s Westbard area, which is located near Friendship Heights and the District of Columbia. The Plan builds on the assets of the community by offering ways to improve neighborhood retail, existing light industrial areas, housing options and recreational and open spaces over the next 20 years.

Recommendations in the Westbard Sector Plan focus on:

-Encouraging more housing choices.

-Revitalizing older retail areas.

-Emphasizing low-scale development of five to seven stories.

-Preserving local light industrial uses.

-Restoring the Willett Branch stream as a public amenity.

-Creating better access to the Capital Crescent Trail.

-Establishing new gathering spaces and parks.

-Enhancing walkability with sidewalks shaded by street trees.

Stay Connected
Sign up for the Westbard Sector Plan eNewsletter.

Dec 22 15

County Council Will Hold Public Hearing on the Westbard Sector Plan on January 26 in Rockville

by Bridget Schwiesow

PB Draft cover_Westbard

Community offered opportunity to sign up and testify before Council members on Planning Board Draft of Sector Plan

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, approved the Westbard Sector Plan at its meeting on Thursday, December 17 for transmittal to the Montgomery County Council and Office of the County Executive.

The County Council has scheduled a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan for Tuesday, January 26, 2016 in the Council Hearing Room (100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD). Community members interested in testifying in person must sign up in advance online or call 240-777-7803 for more information.

The Planning Board previously held three work sessions on the Westbard Sector Plan to address schools, transportation, land uses, zoning, open spaces and historic and cultural resources. A fourth work session was held to finalize zoning language for specific properties in the Plan area. The Planning Board’s revisions are reflected in the newest draft of the Sector Plan.

These changes affect some building heights, address the need for community-serving uses, increase affordable housing requirements in certain circumstances and add restrictions to commercial uses in areas abutting single-family residential neighborhoods.

View the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan.

Background on Westbard Sector Plan
The new Sector Plan is the first effort since 1982 to develop a unified vision for Bethesda’s Westbard area, which is located near Friendship Heights and the District of Columbia. The Plan builds on the assets of the community by offering ways to improve neighborhood retail, existing light industrial areas, housing options and recreational and open spaces over the next 20 years.

Recommendations in the Westbard Sector Plan focus on:

-Encouraging more housing choices.

-Revitalizing older retail areas.

-Emphasizing low-scale development of five to seven stories.

-Preserving local light industrial uses.

-Restoring the Willett Branch stream as a public amenity.

-Creating better access to the Capital Crescent Trail.

-Establishing new gathering spaces and parks.

-Enhancing walkability with sidewalks shaded by street trees.

Stay Connected
Sign up for the Westbard Sector Plan eNewsletter.

Nov 13 15

Planning Board Will Review Zoning Recommendations in Westbard Sector Plan at Work Session on November 19

by Bridget Schwiesow

Westbard Logo

Discussion will focus on height and density recommendations for properties in each district of Westbard

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will review the recommendations regarding zoning and land uses in the Westbard Sector Plan at its meeting on Thursday, November 19 at the Planning Department headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD).

At this second work session for the Sector Plan, staff planners will highlight the priorities in each district of Westbard. They will present requested changes to Plan recommendations made by property owners and their impact on the potential number of residential units, affordable housing, open spaces and student generation rates.

The Planning Board will hold additional work sessions in December 2015. At the conclusion of the work sessions, the Plan will be revised according to the Planning Board’s direction and transmitted to the County Council and County Executive as the Planning Board Draft. The County Council will hold a public hearing on the Planning Board Draft of the Westbard Sector Plan in 2016.

Background on Westbard Sector Plan

The new Sector Plan is the first effort since 1982 to develop a unified vision for Bethesda’s Westbard area, which is located near Friendship Heights and the District of Columbia. The Plan builds on the assets of the community by offering ways to improve neighborhood retail, the existing light industrial areas, housing options and recreational and open spaces over the next 20 years. Recommendations in the Plan focus on:

-Encouraging more housing choices.

-Revitalizing older retail areas.

-Emphasizing low-scale development of five to seven stories.

-Preserving local light industrial uses.

-Restoring the Willett Branch stream as a public amenity.

-Creating better access to the Capital Crescent Trail.

-Establishing new gathering spaces and parks.

-Enhancing walkability with sidewalks shaded by street trees.

Stay Connected:
Sign up for the Westbard Sector Plan eNewsletter.

Apr 23 15

Updated Westbard Sector Plan Presented at April 22 Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

 

Westbard Logo
County planners discuss transportation, schools and environment.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held a community meeting on April 22 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Walt Whitman High School to present the latest refinements to the Westbard Sector Plan, which was last revised in 1982. The Sector Plan is now being updated at the direction of the Montgomery County Council to keep pace with the times and changes in the area. Its recommendations aim to enhance the experiences of people who live in the Westbard area by providing for more choices of retail and housing, new parks and open spaces, and greater environmental sustainability.

At the April 22 meeting, planners focused on issues related to transportation, noting that recent traffic studies show no failing intersections and no need for road widening in the area. Staff’s recommendations include curb cut consolidation along River Road to minimize traffic stresses and improve safety. They also call for creating a new road connecting Westbard Avenue and River Road, and cycle tracks on those streets, along with upgraded sidewalks for pedestrians.

In addition, possible options for additional public school facilities serving the Westbard area and improvements to environmental quality were addressed at the session. Converting the Willett Branch from a concrete storm drain into a green community amenity was recommended, along with increasing the number of open spaces in the Westbard area. A central civic green proposed near Giant Food would provide a place for community gatherings and events.

Review the April 22 presentation.

Since the PlanWestbard charrette, a weeklong brainstorming session held in November 2014, planners have been revising the Sector Plan to address community concerns. Refinements include lower heights for new buildings, more open spaces and bike paths, and placemaking strategies that relate to Westbard’s rich history. The vision for the Sector Plan now concentrates on smaller scale buildings, appropriate density, diversity of housing, mixed uses, affordability and community amenities.

Feedback from the April 22 meeting will be incorporated into the Westbard Concept Framework Plan, which will be presented to the Montgomery County Planning Board on April 30, 2015 for review and approval.

Learn more about the Westbard Sector Plan.

Apr 6 15

Community Meeting on April 22 Will Address Newest Concepts for Westbard Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

 

Westbard Logo

Community Meeting on April 22 Will Address Newest Concepts for Westbard Sector Plan
Residents and business owners invited to provide feedback on planning framework.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a community meeting to discuss concepts for the Westbard Sector Plan on Wednesday, April 22, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Walt Whitman High School cafeteria (7100 Whittier Blvd., Bethesda, MD). Anyone who lives and works in the area or has an interest in the future of the Westbard community is invited to attend this event.

RSVP for the Westbard Plan Concepts Community Meeting.

The updated Sector Plan seeks to transform part of Westbard from an area focused on older commercial centers and light industrial uses into a more pedestrian-friendly town center that preserves the local services on which the community depends. At the April 22 session, planners will present the newest plan concepts and provide an opportunity for attendees to comment and ask questions. This meeting will serve as a valuable “feedback loop” for planners before they present the Westbard Concept Framework Plan to the Planning Board on April 30, 2015.

The meeting will provide stakeholders with an opportunity to review the evolving development of the plan concepts since the November 2014 charrette, when planners met with state and local agencies, citizen associations, business owners and residents from the Westbard area. Feedback from the weeklong workshops helped to shape preliminary ideas for building density and heights, public facilities, transportation improvements, parks and open space as well as environmental recommendations.

History of Westbard Planning:
The 1982 Westbard Sector Plan is now being updated at the direction of the Montgomery County Council to keep pace with the times and changes in the area. Some of that plan’s recommendations were never realized, including design concepts aimed at improving the public realm, such as:

-Implementing streetscape improvements on River Road and side streets.
-Providing gateway features into Westbard.
-Improving the existing Willett Branch stream valley that runs through the Sector Plan area.
-Creating an urban park at the corner of Westbard Avenue and Ridgefield Road.
-Creating a major commercial/retail development on Westbard Avenue.
-Improving environmental features of the Westwood Shopping Center.

Some of these ideas are being addressed in the updated Westbard Sector Plan and will be discussed at the April 22 meeting.

Dec 23 14

Results of PlanWestbard Community Charrette Presented to Montgomery County Planning Board

by Bridget Schwiesow

 

westbard_collage_final

Community feedback and next steps for the Westbard Sector Plan discussed at December 18 meeting

SILVER SPRING, MD – Staff from the Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented the results from its weeklong PlanWestbard Community Charrette to the County Planning Board on Thursday, December 18.

During this series of intensive workshops held in mid-November, planners met extensively with state and local agencies, citizen associations, property and business owners and individual residents from the Westbard area. They held visioning and feedback sessions on plan concepts and ideas produced through interaction among the planning team, community and other stakeholders. On Tuesday evening, November 18, at the Westland Middle School, the Westbard planning team presented the planning concepts that resulted from the Community Charrette.

View PlanWestbard December 18 Planning Board briefing documents.

The feedback from the weeklong workshops helped to shape the preliminary Westbard Concept Framework Plan, which identifies preliminary ideas for an enhanced Westbard – including building density and heights, public facilities, transportation improvements, parks and open space as well as environmental considerations. The Plan seeks to transform the Westbard area from a community that is focused on older commercial centers and light industrial uses into a more pedestrian-friendly, suburban town center that preserves the local services on which the community depends.

In addressing community concerns about the planning effort, the PlanWestbard Team shares its responses to the top 10 questions related to the Westbard Sector Plan as follows:

Top 10 Community Questions/Concerns:

Concern #1: Who is creating this plan?
The PlanWestbard team consists of employees of the Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The Planning Department takes direction from the Montgomery County Planning Board and implements a work program that is set out by the Montgomery County Council. A major responsibility of the Planning Department is to work with all stakeholders to create master plans for neighborhoods throughout Montgomery County. No private group or entity is creating this plan.

Concern #2: Why update the plan now?
It is important to update the Westbard Plan at this time for a number of reasons, which include:

The Westbard Sector Plan is old and out of date;
-It is 32 years old. Most plans in Montgomery County are updated every 20 years.
-Many of the suggestions in the 1982 plan have not been implemented, such as pedestrian improvements to River Road, the creation of a local urban park and improvements to the Willett Branch Stream.
-The Westbard Sector Plan has been on the Planning Department’s work program schedule for the past six to seven years.

The Westbard commercial area is showing its age;
-The buildings are antiquated and need updating.
-There are limited choices – for example, few full-service restaurants.
-The public realm – sidewalks, especially – is inadequate for a high-quality suburban area.

The natural environment is being damaged by the existing development in Westbard;
-Existing surface parking lots and most of the buildings have no stormwater management, meaning that all polluted run-off is flowing directly into the stream system.
-Tree canopy is limited, creating a heat island.
-Willett Branch Stream is completely channelized and functions as an area for invasive species and dumping of trash.

There has been little movement in recent years toward improving Westbard or realizing the recommendations in the 1982 Plan. However, Equity One, the owner of the Westwood Shopping Center on Westbard Avenue, has expressed an interest in making improvements to its property. Given the potential for some reinvestment in the area, it is an appropriate time to update the plan.

Concern #3: Why is the entire Westbard Sector Plan area being proposed for redevelopment?
When the Planning Department looks at updating a plan, it doesn’t just consider one or two properties.  Looking at only a very small area would be counter to the goal of coordinated and comprehensive planning. The area being reviewed as part of the PlanWestbard effort is the same area that was considered in the 1982 plan – the boundaries of the planning area have not changed.

The goal is to consider the long-term (20 years or more) vision for the whole of the Westbard planning area. In looking at this long-term vision, it is necessary to consider future ideas for each property in the planning area, even if these ideas may not be implemented in the near term – especially if current owners have no plans for changes. It is very unlikely that all the areas indicated for potential change in the Concept Framework Plan will be completely redeveloped. There are several areas in the plan that are not being considered for change –publicly owned sites like the Westland Middle School, some of the light industrial areas, the Washington Episcopal School site, and Capital Crescent Trail and associated parkland.

Concern #4: Why are the planners proposing a “second” Bethesda?
Planning staff clearly recognizes that Westbard is not like Bethesda – it is not near Metrorail, it is not a regional destination and it is primarily a suburban neighborhood center. These points were made during the charrette process and Planning Department staff heard the input and agrees with it.

However, a high-quality suburban neighborhood center does not necessarily mean one-story buildings and large surface parking lots. All around the country and the metropolitan Washington region, new suburban centers are being created that look and function differently from those built in the 1950s and 1960s. These newer centers include a mix of uses with integration of some residential options, enhanced connectivity with better sidewalks and bike paths, community gathering spaces and plazas, and more compact retail square footage.

In fact, the Citizens Coordinating Committee of Friendship Heights commissioned a planning study of Westbard in 2008 from The Catholic University of America School of Architecture. That study introduced the idea of a new type of suburban center and emphasized “a concept based upon environmental sustainability, safety, and economic viability. This proposal sets forth guidelines and a vision for future growth, enhancements and land use for this Bethesda community.” Many of the building heights and illustrations of potential new buildings in this study commissioned by the community are similar or identical to ideas that came out of the recent PlanWestbard Community Charrette process.

As the Planning Department team moves forward on the Westbard Plan in collaboration with the community, the building densities and heights, land use mix and traffic impacts will be updated and side-by-side comparisons to what exists in Westbard and downtown Bethesda today will be provided.

Concern #5: New development in Westbard will overload the capacity of the local public schools.
Planning staff is working closely with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) as the agency plans for future growth that may result from plan updates. MCPS must consider whether development options identified in plans are likely to really occur before they program funds for school improvements or expansions. This is why a more detailed school projection analysis is typically done by MCPS at the time that a development is actually proposed through the regulatory process, rather than at the time of the more conceptual planning process. The high-end range of development in any plan is unlikely to happen all at once and may never be fully built.

With all of this in mind, MCPS staff and Planning Department staff are nonetheless working closely to look at options for school capacity in the Westbard area and these choices will be an important part of the final plan.

Concern #6: Traffic congestion will increase.
Planning Department staff understands that traffic is a very big concern. Unfortunately, stopping all change in Westbard will not improve the traffic situation. Very little new development has happened in Westbard over the past 30 years; however, the traffic congestion has increased. The benefit of undertaking a plan that calls for some change is that this process presents an opportunity to look at how traffic congestion can be mitigated. If the PlanWestbard team members forward recommendations that increase traffic, they will also propose remedies, especially other modes of transportation, to facilitate circulation for the increased congestion that may result.

Concern #7: Tall buildings will dwarf their surroundings.
Westbard is already home to several buildings that are over 100 feet in height. Planning staff heard clearly during the Westbard Community Charrette that building height is a major community concern. Staff has not proposed buildings that are similar in scale to the existing tall buildings in Westbard.

The tallest buildings currently shown in the Concept Framework Plan for the Westbard area are up to 80 feet in two locations and much of the area is shown as having a height limit of 50 feet. While some residents have asked that heights be limited to 45 feet or lower, many participants at the Westbard Community Charrette indicated that 6-8-story buildings on River Road and 5-6 stories on Westbard Avenue would be acceptable. Planning staff will continue to work with the community to find the right balance of heights.

Concern #8: Driving and parking will be limited.
Residents will still be able to drive their cars throughout Westbard and pick up groceries. The Concept Framework Plan simply offers more options than currently available – both for walking and driving. Transportation demands will be fully studied and recommendations made for improvements before the Sector Plan update is sent to the Planning Board for review. Any new project must meet stringent parking requirements before being approved by the development review section of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Concern #9: Why is a new library planned for the Equity One site?
One idea that came from the participants in the PlanWestbard Community Charrette was the idea of moving the library into the center of the new village center.  This location had the benefit of making the library more accessible to the community – including people who may want to walk, enlivening the village center, and opening up some options for school expansion or construction.

After the Community Charrette, some residents have questioned the idea of moving the Little Falls Library from its current site, but many still applaud the idea of a new library on the Equity One site. Staff will continue to analyze the feasibility of this proposal as part of the process.

Concern #10: Why is there a proposed green public space on Westbard Avenue?
A major goal of the 1982 Westbard Plan and the 2008 Catholic University Plan has been to increase the amount of green space in Westbard. This landscape is important from an environmental perspective, but also as part of providing community gathering and recreational spaces.

Based on this goal, Planning Department staff has identified the potential for a green space on Westbard Avenue that could be an open space of a half-acre in size at a minimum.

History of Westbard Planning:
The existing Westbard Sector Plan is now being updated at the direction of the Montgomery County Council to keep pace with the times and changes in the area.

In updating the Westbard Sector Plan, staff reviewed the proposed land use and zoning to determine how the previous plan performed. Some of the recommendations of the 1982 Westbard Sector Plan were never realized. They focused on design concepts aimed at improving the public realm, such as:

-Streetscape improvements on River Road and side streets
-Gateway features into Westbard
-Improving the existing Willett Branch stream valley that runs through the Sector Plan area
-Creating an urban park at the corner of Westbard Avenue and Ridgefield Road
-Creating a major commercial/retail development on Westbard Avenue
-Improving environmental features of the Westwood Shopping Center.

Next Steps in Westbard Plan:

Developing the Westbard Sector Plan relies on a community process. It provides an opportunity for the community to voice their concerns about existing conditions, request needed improvements and be a part of the process.

The December 18 presentation to the Planning Board was a preliminary step in the ongoing planning process for Westbard. There is still quite a bit to review and study to do before the Planning Department staff presents its preliminary recommendations to the Planning Board for review in spring 2015. Staff welcomes additional suggestions and comments from the community as it develops the final concepts for the Sector Plan.

Nov 19 14

Weeklong Charrette Captures Community Concepts for Westbard

by Bridget Schwiesow

westbard_collage_final
Citizen collaboration with planners from November 10-18 spurred ideas for housing, retail, pedestrian and bike connections to move plan forward

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, concluded its weeklong PlanWestbard Community Charrette – a series of intensive workshops – with a final presentation at Westland Middle School on November 18. The purpose of the charrette was to gather ideas and craft a concept framework plan for the Westbard Sector Plan. The Planning Department staff thanks the numerous residents, property and business owners, and interested citizens who offered valuable ideas about the area, from affordable housing to new streets and parks.

“The community charrette was a great starting point for the plan,” says lead planner John Marcolin. “A lot of valuable ideas emerged to give us momentum in planning Westbard’s future. We encourage the community to continue to give us feedback as we work on refining the plan concepts over the next few months.”

The existing Westbard Sector Plan is one of the oldest plans still in use in Montgomery County, having last been revised in 1982. It is now being updated at the direction of the Montgomery County Council to keep pace with the times and changes in the area.

The community charrette started on Monday, November 10 with walking tours of Westbard to familiarize participants with the area. During that day’s workshop, staff received community input about the area from comment cards, sketches and notes. The plan vision was presented at an evening event at Walt Whitman High School and stakeholders shared their ideas about future open spaces, civic and land uses, and connections within the Westbard area.

On Wednesday, November 12 and Thursday, November 13, business owners and residents attended the morning “Sunrise Series” meetings. Citizen association members and residents offered more input during the day. The evening sessions at Walt Whitman High School presented feedback on three schemes and two concept plans. Noted on the plans are ideas ranging from maintaining industrial uses and building new townhouses to creating a town green and better pedestrian access to the Capital Crescent Trail.

On Friday, November 14, meetings were held with representatives from Montgomery County public schools and libraries, and collaboration continued with community groups and individuals. Based on feedback received at the previous evening presentation, staff refined the concept plans.

On Tuesday, November 18, the final evening presentation examined the ideas offered during the weeklong charrette and their incorporation into the concept plan. View the presentation from November 18.

Over the next four months, planners will prepare the final Westbard Sector Plan based on the community input. They encourage the community to provide additional feedback during this time. The staff draft of the plan will be presented to the Montgomery County Planning Board in April 2015 for approval.

Stay Connected:
Sign up: for the PlanWestbard-E-Newsletter
Call: the PlanWestbard Hotline for updates on upcoming planning events: 301-495-4567
Follow: updates on Twitter: @planwestbard
Learn More: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard
Use: #PlanWestbard

Learn more about the Westbard Sector Plan and how to get involved: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard

Westbard Background:
Westbard lies in the southwestern part of Montgomery County, approximately one mile from the DC boundary line. It is less than two miles from the commercial areas of Friendship Heights and Bethesda. The Westbard area is served by two major northwest to southeast highways: River Road and Massachusetts Avenue and is surrounded by well-established single-family neighborhoods. Over a period of years, the residential uses were built around the commercial/industrial areas, which extend along River Road and Westbard Avenue. The popular regional Capital Crescent Trail runs the length of Westbard.

Nov 14 14

Attend the Westbard Community Charrette Final Presentation – Tuesday, Nov. 18

by Bridget Schwiesow

westbard_Charrette collage
Community invited to attend the presentation of Completed Concept Plan at Westland Middle School from 7 – 9 p.m.

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold the last PlanWestbard Community Charrette event with a final presentation of the Completed Concept Plan on Tuesday, November 18 at Westland Middle School (5511 Massachusetts Ave, Bethesda, MD) from 7 to 9 p.m. This event is the culmination of the weeklong charrette that involved a series of intensive workshops where planners worked with the community to gather ideas and craft a concept framework plan for the Westbard Sector Plan.

Residents, property and business owners, and interested citizens are invited to participate in the final charrette presentation. RSVP is encouraged but not required for the November 18 evening presentation.

The Final Presentation event will consist of a summary of the charrette and its influence on the Concept Plan as well as next steps for the Westbard Sector Plan.

A full schedule of all the workshops and presentations is posted online at www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard.

Details:
What: Final Community Charrette Presentation of Completed Concept Plan
When:
Tuesday, November 18, 7 – 9 p.m.
Where:
Westland Middle School (5511 Massachusetts Ave, Bethesda, MD)
Why: Planners will summarize the results of the charrette and its influence on the plan

Register for the PlanWestbard Community Charrette activities.

About the Westbard Sector Plan
The existing Westbard Sector Plan is one of the oldest plans still in use in Montgomery County, having last been revised in 1982. It is now being updated at the direction of the Montgomery County Council to keep pace with the times and changes in the area.

Before attending the charrette, the community is invited to review the Westbard Sector Plan Briefing Book summarizing the existing conditions of the Sector Plan area. This book is intended to be used as a reference for the community throughout the planning process.

Stay Connected:
Sign up: for the PlanWestbard-E-Newsletter
Call: the PlanWestbard Hotline for updates on upcoming planning events: 301-495-4567
Follow: updates on Twitter: @planwestbard
Learn More: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard
Use: #PlanWestbard

Learn more about the Westbard Sector Plan and how to get involved: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard

Westbard Background:
Westbard lies in the southwestern part of Montgomery County, approximately one mile from the DC boundary line. It is less than two miles from the commercial areas of Friendship Heights and Bethesda. The Westbard area is served by two major northwest to southeast highways: River Road and Massachusetts Avenue and is surrounded by well-established single-family neighborhoods. Over a period of years, the residential uses were built around the commercial/industrial areas, which extend along River Road and Westbard Avenue. The popular regional Capital Crescent Trail runs the length of Westbard.

Nov 5 14

Weeklong Community Charrette to Plan Westbard’s Future Starts on Monday, November 10

by Bridget Schwiesow

twitter_promo_westbard
Community invited to brainstorm, collaborate with planners November 10-18 to capture best ideas for sector plan area

SILVER SPRING, MD – On November 10, 2014, the Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will launch a weeklong charrette – a series of intensive workshops –to gather ideas and craft a concept framework plan for the Westbard Sector Plan. Residents, property and business owners, and interested citizens are invited to participate in these meetings to offer their ideas about the area.

A full schedule of all the workshops and presentations is posted online at www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard.

The community charrette will start on Monday, November 10, with walking tours of Westbard to familiarize participants with the area. The tours will be conducted at 10 a.m. and noon, starting at Westwood II Mall (5110 Ridgefield Rd, Bethesda, MD).

A workshop will also be held on Monday, starting at 9 a.m. at Westwood II and continuing until 5 p.m. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and discuss concepts during these hours. No charrette activities will take place on Tuesday, November 11, in observance of Veterans Day.

On Wednesday, November 12, and Thursday, November 13, business owners and residents are invited to attend the “Sunrise Series” meetings being held from 7-8:30 a.m. at Westwood II. The community workshops will commence on those days and on Friday, November 14, at 9 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m.

Evening presentations will be held during the week at Walt Whitman High School cafeteria (7100 Whittier Blvd, Bethesda, MD) from 6-9 p.m. The summary of the charrette and its influence on the Concept Plan will be presented on Tuesday, November 18 at Westland Middle School (5511 Massachusetts Ave, Bethesda, MD) from 7-9 p.m.

What is a charrette?
char·rette (SH??ret/)Noun. A meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and map solutions together. The idea comes from the School of Fine Arts (École des Beaux Arts) in Paris where students would put their final drawings on a cart (charrette) to turn in for grading by a professor. Students would sometimes hop on the cart to finish their drawings.

The charrette will offer residents and stakeholders an opportunity to drop in and work one-on-one with the staff who will capture the ideas, visions and goals of the Westbard community.

Residents, business owners and property owners are invited to drop-in and meet with planners and representatives from other agencies during the daytime hours. The Sunrise Series was designed to serve those who have to be at work during the hours of 9 – 5. RSVP’s are encouraged but not required: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard.

Charrette Schedule At A Glance:

Monday, November 10 –Walking tours will be conducted in the community at 10 a.m. and noon starting at Westwood II. The Charrette Drop-In hours will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. The evening Visioning Session will be at Walt Whitman High School from 6-9 p.m.

Tuesday, November 11 – Observance of Veterans Day (no charrette activities).

Wednesday, November 12– A “Sunrise Series” meeting will be held for business owners and residents from 7-8:30 a.m. at Westwood II. Charrette Drop-In hours will be held from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Westwood II. The Framework Concept will be presented at Walt Whitman High School from 6-9 p.m.

Thursday, November 13– A “Sunrise Series” meeting will be held for all stakeholders from 7-8:30 a.m. at Westwood II. Charrette Drop-In hours will be held from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Westwood II. The community will be asked to give feedback on the preferred options for the Framework Concept at Walt Whitman High School from 6-9 p.m.

Friday, November 14– The community is invited to drop in at Westwood II during the day from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. to talk with Montgomery Planning Department staff as they refine the concept plan.

Monday, November 17– Planners will be working on the results of the charrette in preparation for Tuesday’s evening presentation of the completed Concept Plan (no Charrette Drop-in hours).

Tuesday, November 18– Planners will summarize the results of the charrette and its influence on the plan at Westland Middle School from 7-9 p.m.

Register for the PlanWestbard Community Charrette activities.

About the Westbard Sector Plan
The existing Westbard Sector Plan is one of the oldest plans still in use in Montgomery County, having last been revised in 1982. It is now being updated at the direction of the Montgomery County Council to keep pace with the times and changes in the area.

Before attending the charrette, the community is invited to review the Westbard Sector Plan Briefing Book summarizing the existing conditions of the Sector Plan area. This book is intended to be used as a reference for the community throughout the planning process.

Stay Connected:
Sign up: for the PlanWestbard-E-Newsletter
Call: the PlanWestbard Hotline for updates on upcoming planning events: 301-495-4567
Follow: updates on Twitter: @planwestbard
Learn More: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard
Use: #PlanWestbard

Learn more about the Westbard Sector Plan and how to get involved: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard

Westbard Background:
Westbard lies in the southwestern part of Montgomery County, approximately one mile from the DC boundary line. It is less than two miles from the commercial areas of Friendship Heights and Bethesda. The Westbard area is served by two major northwest to southeast highways: River Road and Massachusetts Avenue and is surrounded by well-established single-family neighborhoods. Over a period of years, the residential uses were built around the commercial/industrial areas, which extend along River Road and Westbard Avenue. The popular regional Capital Crescent Trail runs the length of Westbard.

Oct 24 14

Westbard Stakeholders Invited to Participate in Weeklong PlanWestbard Community Charrette Starting November 10

by Bridget Schwiesow

Westbard logos black and gray

Community invited to brainstorm, collaborate with planners November 10-18 in open sessions with the public to capture concepts, goals for sector plan area

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is conducting a weeklong charrette – a series of intensive workshops – to gather ideas and craft a concept framework plan for the Westbard Sector Plan.

The PlanWestbard Community Charrette will take place during the week of November 10; a full schedule of meetings is posted online at www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard. Staff will e on hand to answer questions and provide insight into the Sector Plan process from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Westwood II (5110 Ridgefield Rd, Bethesda, MD). Evening presentations will be held during the week at the Walt Whitman High School cafeteria (7100 Whittier Blvd, Bethesda, MD) from 6 – 9 p.m. The final presentation of the completed Concept Plan will be held at Westland Middle School (5511 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda, MD) from 7 – 9 p.m.

What is a charrette?
char·rette (SHe’ret/)Noun. a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and map solutions together. Linking back to the École des Beaux Arts in Paris where students would put their final drawings on a cart (charrette) to turn in for grading by a professor. Oftentimes students would hop on the cart to finish their drawings.

The charrette will offer residents and stakeholders an opportunity to drop in and work one-on-one with staff who will capture the ideas, visions and goals of the Westbard community. The community is invited to bring a friend or neighbor to the Charrette Open House hours.

Residents, business owners and property owners are invited to drop-in and meet with planners and representatives from other agencies during the daytime hours. RSVP’s are encouraged but not required: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard.

Charrette Schedule At A Glance:

Monday, November 10 – Walking Tours will be conducted in the community at 10 a.m. and noon starting at Westwood II.  Charrette Open House hours will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Westwood II. Attend the PlanWestbard Visioning Session at Walt Whitman High School starting at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, November 11 – Observance of Veterans Day (no charrette activities)

Wednesday, November 12 – A “Sunrise Series” meeting will be held for business owners at 7 a.m. at Westwood II.  Charrette Open House hours will follow until 5 p.m. at Westwood II. The Framework Concept will be presented at Walt Whitman High School from 6 to 9 p.m.

Thursday, November 13 – A “Sunrise Series” meeting will be held for all stakeholders at 7 a.m. at Westwood II followed by Charrette Open House hours until 5 p.m. The community will be asked to give feedback on the preferred options for the Framework Concept at Walt Whitman High School from 6 to 9 p.m.

Friday, November 14 –The community is invited to drop in at Westwood II during the day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to talk with Montgomery Planning Department staff as they refine the Concept Plan.

Monday, November 17 – Planners will be working on the results of the charrette in preparation for Tuesday’s evening presentation of the Completed Concept Plan at Westland Middle School.

Tuesday, November 18 – Planners will summarize the results of the charrette and its influence on the plan at Westland Middle School from 7 to 9 p.m.

About the Westbard Sector Plan: The existing Westbard Sector Plan is one of the oldest plans still in use in Montgomery County, having last been revised in 1982. It is now being updated at the direction of the Montgomery County Council to keep pace with the times and changes in the area.

Before attending the charrette, the community is invited to review the Westbard Sector Plan Briefing Book summarizing the existing conditions of the Sector Plan area. This book is intended to be used as a reference for the community throughout the planning process.

Stay Connected:
Sign up: for the PlanWestbard-E-Newsletter
Call: the PlanWestbard Hotline for updates on upcoming planning events: 301-495-4567
Follow: updates on Twitter: @planwestbard
Learn More: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard
Use: #PlanWestbard

Learn more about the Westbard Sector Plan and how to get involved: www.montgomeryplanning.org/planwestbard

Westbard Background:
Westbard lies in the southwestern part of Montgomery County, approximately one mile from the DC boundary line. It is less than two miles from the commercial areas of Friendship Heights and Bethesda. The Westbard area is served by two major northwest to southeast highways: River Road and Massachusetts Avenue and is surrounded by well-established single-family neighborhoods. Over a period of years, the residential uses were built around the commercial/industrial areas, which extend along River Road and Westbard Avenue. The popular regional Capital Crescent Trail runs the length of Westbard.