Update on Westbard Self Storage

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 1:11pm

January 3, 2018: Westbard Self Storage Plans have been Approved.  

On December 14, 2017, the Planning Board voted to accept the Plans for the Westbard Storage Facility with conditions based on the Staff's recommendations.  Parcel 177 will be dedicated to for the Willett Branch Park and the Storage Facility will create a gateway passage, Outlet Road,  to the park which will run along the retaining wall behind the McDonald's on River Road.  The building has also been moved out of the buffer.  We are not satisfied with the Stormwater Management Concept, and hope that the final stormwater management plans will include some infiltration techniques as recommended by Diane Cameron in her November 13, 2017 Memo.  You can read her recommendations and our comments to the planning staff HERE.

More information on the Self Storage Facility including pictures of the approved design is HERE.

November 9, 2017: Westbard Storage Moves Building out of the Buffer!

In the the latest submission from Westbard Storage, the proposed self-storage facility has been moved out of the stream valley buffer.  While this is cause for celebration, there is still much about the building plans that LFWA is not in agreement with.  

Treatment of surface run-off with green areas that allow the water from the driveways and parking lots to soak into the ground.  

The primary goal of a good stormwater management plan is to return the water to the ground where it will be cleaned by natural processes and recharge the ground water. The Westbard Storage Facility stormwater javascript:void(0);management plan relies entirely on roof-top solutions (like green roofs) for filtering the water but leaves the surface run-off untreated and flowing directly into the Willett Branch.  While green roofs have a lot of benefit to the environment, returning water to the ground is not one of them. Instead, the water is soaked up by the roof top plants and any excess is channeled into the storm drains.  

We would like the driveways and parking lots to be edged with a swale or other vegetative strip.  This would add much need native planting in the area as well as allow the water from these paved surfaces to soak into the ground.  

Wider Pathway into New Park:

The Sector Plan specifically calls for a welcoming gateway to the new Willett Branch park.  The corridor between the building and the McDonald's that leads to the new Park, is only 18 feet wide.  There will be a sixty foot wall on one side and the McDonald's retaining wall on the other.  We feel this is too narrow to be safe or welcoming.  A 24 foot wide path would allow for plantings and a light to enter the area.  

The Westbard Storage Facility is the first test of the new Sector Plan and the first building to be approved on the banks of the Willett Branch.  We need to get this right.

Please send comments to the Planning staff and Permitting Department.  They need to hear from the public that the park is important and we want the best building we can have so that generations of residents can enjoy the new green space. 

Department of Permitting Services
Mark Etheridge, mark.etheridge@montgomerycountymd.gov, Manager, Water Resources Plan Review

Montgomery Planning
Elza Hisel-McCoy, elza.hisel-mccoy@montgomeryplanning.org

Our comments from July 2 can be found at http://www.lfwa.org/updates/westbard-self-storage-threatens-stream-buffer  While the building has been moved out of the stream buffer, many of the comments are still unaddressed.

Sarah Morse

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