Email Now: Westbard Redevelopment

Let the Planning Staff and Department of Permitting Services Know that Stormwater Management Matters 

Regency Centers have two applications in for the Westbard Sector -1) a preliminary plan for parcels including Manor Care, the Westbard Shopping Center, Westwood II and the parking lot behind American Plant and 2) a site plan for the Westbard Shopping center which proposes a mix of residential/commercial buildings, townhouses, a civil square and a small park.  The properties in the premilinary plan are adjacent to the approved Willett Branch Park, a new stream valley park for the area and the Westbard Shopping Center parcel sits across the street from the new park, so the management of stormwater for this redevelopment project will directly affect the Willett Branch Creek and the new park.  Uncontrolled run-off will blow out the stream and cause flooding.  Untreated rain water flowing from the road will bring with it a toxic mix of chemicals.  So a robust stormwater plan is paramount to the success of the new park and naturalized creek.

LFWA has extensively reviewed the stormwater management plans for both applications and both are NOT satisfactory.  The applicant is asking for waivers, not treating the worse of the run-off areas and falling short on the requirement to capture and treat all stormwater on-site.  They are also asking for waivers to the tree protection requirements and propose to replace canopy and shade trees with smaller species ignoring the Sector plan mandate for 50% tree canopy.

For background information and LFWA's July comments click HERE.  Background on the Willett Branch park is HERE.

Please take a moment support the new park by sending comments to the Planning Staff and Department of Permitting Services on the importance of requiring robust stormwater management for the new development. 

Email by clicking HERE.

For the Preliminary Plan:

NO to Waivers: Regency Centers is asking for a waiver to treat the stormwater run-off from the road. They are asking to pay a "fee in lieu" of treatment for more than 80% of the required treatment. Road run-off would instead flow directly into the Willet Branch. This is the worse case scenario for the creek as road run-off is the most polluted run-off, carrying with it a toxic mix of chemicals leaked from cars.

NO to Buildings in the Kenwood Tributary stream buffer: The preliminary plans show townhouses located in the 100 foot stream buffer of the Kenwood Tributary. This little creek flows directly into the Willett Branch and the buffer protects the natural area. 

NO to less than 100% treatment of stormwater run-off on-site.  New development (including large additions to houses) are required to capture and treat the stormwater on-site.  This is important because when stormwater is returned to the ground it recharges the ground water and is cleaned by the natural bacteria in the soil.  Returning stormwater to the ground also prevents flooding and keeps it from overwhelming rivers and creeks.  The success of the new Willett Branch Stream Valley Park depends on keeping run-off away from the creek.  

ACCESS to the New Park should be shown on the Preliminary Plans. While the Sector Plan for the area is clear that the new park must have a welcoming gateway and public access, Regency Centers preliminary plans show buildings blocking the way to the new park. These building must be revised to indicate how the public will enter the park.

For the Site Plan:

NO to less than 100% treatment of rainwater on site. The Westbard Self Storage Facility has set the bar using green methods to capture and treat the rain water on-site. They were able to achieve 100% Environmental Site Design (ESD - a fancy way of saying they used landscaping, dry wells, green roofs and other green methods). Regency Centers must be required to do the same at the shopping center parcel. See below to download LFWA comments on why 100% ESD is essential to the health of the Willett Branch and new park.

NO to tree removal waiver: We are very concerned with the plans for trees in the development. They are asking for waivers to remove mature canopy trees while proposing to re-populate the area with with smaller species. These mature trees provided much needed shade and add character to the area that a smaller tree can never duplicate.

YES to more canopy trees. The Sector Plan calls for a 50% tree canopy. Shade trees like oaks and tulip poplars are an important feature of the surrounding neighborhoods and help with stormwater management.

YES to a Stormwater management buffer between the new townhouses and the Kenwood Condominium complex.  This is mandated in the Sector Plan.

Comments on stormwater management should be submitted to both the Planning Staff and the Department of Permitting Service (DPS) to the attention of Mark Etheridge (mark.etheridge@montgomerycountymd.gov), While the Planning staff can comment on the stormwater management plan, DPS has the final word and issues the permit.

LFWA comments to the Planning Staff and DEP are HERE.  Follow up comments and consultant's report are HERE.

You can send an email HERE.

This email will go to:

Mark Etheridge, Department of Permitting Services, mark.etheridge@montgomerycountymd.gov
David Kuydendall, DPS, david.kuykendall@montgomerycountymd.gov
Mark Pfefferie, Division One Director, mark.pfefferle@montgomeryplanning.org
Marco Fuster, Environmental Planner, Marco.Fuster@montgomeryplanning.org
Stephanie Dickel, Lead on Site Plan Review, Stephanie.Dickel@montgomeryplanning.org
Matt Folden, Lean of Preliminary Plan Review, matthew.folden@montgomeryplanning.org
Elza Hisel-McCoy, Planner, elza.hisel-mccoy@montgomeryplanning.org
Mike Riley, Director of Parks, Mike.Riley@MontgomeryParks.org
Susanne Paul, Senior Planner Parks, Susanne.Paul@montgomeryParks.org