Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Westbard, Rosemary Hills, Lyttonsville, Damascus & Luxmanor Unite to Send Message to Council

This morning four County neighborhood groups joined SaveWestbard and submitted a joint letter to the County Council.
May 3, 2016
Montgomery County Council
Council Office Building
100 Maryland Avenue, 5th Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
Dear Councilmembers:
This letter is a joint effort among the following groups:
Rosemary Hills
Keep Damascus Rural
Luxmanor Citizens Association
We ask the County Council, once again, to reject the proposed Westbard Sector Plan (WSP) or, at a minimum, take a strategic pause before approving this sector plan in order to allow for a thoughtful and measured process in which community trust of county government is restored and community concerns (about school-overcrowding and traffic congestion) are appropriately and meaningfully addressed. Consultation with the community is imperative as the Westbard Community Survey, submitted to your offices yesterday, confirms that Westbard-area residents overwhelmingly oppose the proposed WSP.
Irrespective of the Council’s vote today, the Westbard experience has united and mobilized communities across Montgomery County with the common view that the overall Montgomery County planning process is broken.
For the reasons set forth below, we, the undersigned communities, are united in our opposition to the Montgomery County planning process, and we invite other communities to join us in opposition:
First, communities across Montgomery County are equally dismayed by a County-wide planning process that favors developers over communities, and that consistently results in outcomes that communities do not want. The County Council and Board, in apparent partnership with major developers, are now engaged in a full-fledged effort to urbanize rural, sub-urban, and local communities through overbuilding and commercialization of public space, at great profit to developers, but to the detriment of our public schools, the environment, traffic congestion, community diversity, and social services. This will not stop until we unite.
Second, County officials have dismissed, as unreasonable, public opposition to urbanization that favors developers over the environment and over the local, established community, and instead have sought to thwart the overwhelming opposition through a planning process designed to divide and then mislead the community about real intentions and plans. This will not stop until there is reform.
Finally, the undersigned communities stand together and will use every legal and political means at their disposal to reform the planning process, to put an end to unwanted over-development, and to create a process that involves maximum citizen participation. This is the only tenable strategy for improving our built space, protecting the natural environment, strengthening social infrastructure, and preserving our cherished values of diversity and responsible stewardship of the County.
Respectfully submitted,
SaveWestbard, Jonathan and Dominique Cahn, Patricia Kolesar, Bobby Lipman, Stan Wiggins
Rosemary Hills, Leonor Chaves, Mark Mendez, Valarie Barr
Lyttonsville, Charlotte Coffield
Keep Damascus Rural, Seth Gottesman
Luxmanor Citizens Association, Abbe Milstein


  1. Too Little Too Late: http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/westbard/

    1. Not at all. Unless all of these communities were built out last night, now IS the time for these communities to speak out.

      We have all seen how horrendous Montgomery County is at "planning" for our public schools.

      Sure, George Leventhal is fine with development. When his kids' school was overcrowded, Jerry Weast ran in and built an unplanned addition on the school. The addition was not in the Master Plan, but appeared in the budget by magic.

      But, for the rest of the County parents know this is not the reality. The rest of the county gets classroom trailers for 30+ years while our "planners" go out to dinner.

    2. This is the first formal opposition to date.

    3. Not at all. The County Council and Planning Board has been formally hearing from all of these groups for a long time. Their opposition is not at all new. Now they are just coming together to support each other.

    4. @12:06 Maybe it is the first time you have heard about the opposition of these groups, but is hardly the first time the County Council and Planning Board have heard from these groups.

    5. Actually, I went to one of those presentations at Westland Middle School, but what I perceived was that the opposition was weak and fragmented. The planning board heard from a few displeased individuals, but they are going ahead with their plan regardless. Perhaps, now that all the affected communities present a unified front they may listen.

  2. The voters are already signaling it's time for change.


  3. This ongoing corruption has been a reality in Montgomery County for years. It came into sharp focus during Duncan’s “End Gridlock” campaign of 2002, where millions of dollars in “campaign donations” were accepted from developers, after which Duncan and his developer-paid-for-council dismantled planning standards that exacerbated traffic gridlock and overcrowding in our schools. 2002 is the same year when George Leventhal was elected to the council for the first time with the backing of Duncan’s developer dollars. It is an absolute fact that THREE of every FOUR dollars comes from development in Montgomery County Executive and Council races to this day. Another 20% comes from other PACS, utilities and unions. Less than five percent comes from ordinary citizens. If you are really tired of our “elected officials” doing the developers’ bidding, rather than listening to citizens... DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Contribute $10, $25, $50, $100 to a grassroots (non-incumbent) candidate, help your candidate by knocking on doors, writing letters, making phone calls, etc., VOTE for non-incumbent candidates. DO NOT VOTE FOR: Leventhal (65% Developer funded), Floreen (75% Developer funded), Riemer (70% Developer funded), Rice (80% Developer funded), Navarro (70% Developer funded), Katz (85% Developer funded), Berliner (55% Developer funded).

    1. Are the funding practices both legal and ethical in this neck of the woods?

  4. The Westbard plan is as asinine as shutting down an already-crowded bus depot while simultaneously building an entire TOWN across the street from it, which will of course call for more classroom space - and more buses. Too much going on in too small a space, and once again MCPS will be thrown under the bus in terms of how to deal with the resulting increases.

  5. The corrupt Montgomery County Council just voted against citizens and with the developers, who helped to put them in office... they approved the Westbard Sector Plan.

    1. The Golden Rule: Those who own the gold make the rules.

    2. It fits the prevalent model of government; grab your hard earned money and then tell you want you cannot do.


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