A New Life for the Willett Branch; A New Park for the Westbard Sector
The new Sector plan for Westbard calls for a naturalized Willett Branch creek and a beautiful new park cutting through Westbard like a green ribbon with a walking path, play areas and places for gathering giving the new (and old!) residents a place to stretch their legs and recharge.
This promises to be a major amenity for the area. The concrete-line channel creek with walls covered with graffiti and banks littered will be replaced by a natural waterway that supports fish and other aquatic life. The banks will have trees, native plants and shrubs instead of being a dumping ground for shopping carts, tires and appliances and other trash. Residents will be able to walk along the creek and enjoy the beautiful natural environment of that a creek provides.
Equity One Revised Sketch Plan Sites Five New Buildings in the Willett Branch Buffer
In September, Equity One submitted a Revised Sketch Plans for their vision for their development. Most of the Willett Branch abuts their properties on the Westbard Avenue side. However, they are ignoring the recommended 100 foot stream buffer guidelines and siting a huge new parking/residential unit structure in the stream buffer behind the Westbard Tower building as well as four other building. The Montgomery County environmental guidelines are very clear that no new buildings should be allow in a stream buffer. You can see Equity One's plans for these buildings in the buffer HERE.
Click HERE to read our comments for public record on the Sketch Plan (August 17, 2016).
Click HERE to read our comments on the resubmitted Sketch plan (September 11, 2016).
Click HERE to read our testimony before the County Council on the Westbard Sector Plan Sectional Map Amendment (September 20, 2016).
Click HERE to read our review of Montgomery County Guidelines regarding building in a stream Buffer (October 11, 2016).
Click HERE to read our comments on the Sketch Plan and siting parking garage in buffer (Feb. 3, 2017)
Click HERE to read our written testimony to the Planning Board on the Sketch Plan (Feb. 20, 2017)
Equity One Submits Preliminary Plan for Westbard Sector.
The next step after submitting the Sketch Plan is to submit a preliminary plan. This plan is more detailed than the sketch plan and must have stormwater management plan, traffic plans, forest conservation studies and more. You can view the plan by downloading it in pieces HERE. This site also has the staff comments on the plan for review. You can read them HERE.
Click HERE to read our comments on the Preliminary Plan (January 23, 2017)
CEMETERY DELINEATION FUNDED - Click HERE To learn about the plans for an archaeological survey of the White's Tabernacle Cemetery grounds located adjacent to the Westwood Tower Apartments.
Learn about the history of the RIver Road African American community HERE.
How You Can Help
- Send a letter or e-mail to Planning Board and County Council members expressing your support for the Willett Branch and ask them to require a strong commitment to the creek in the Equity One Sketch Plan with NO new buildings in the stream buffer. Montgomery County guidelines require a 100-foot stream buffer for a healthy stream. We need the buffer for a successful new Park as envisioned by the Planning staff. Thank them for their vision and support of the Park.
- A sample letter is HERE
- Click HERE to send an email to the Planning Staff, Planning Board, County Council, Housing Opportunity Commission and County Executive
Spread the word! Please tell your friends and neighbors about the plight of Willett Branch creek and the opportunity for real improvement. Share your excitement for green space, park lands, walking trails, and a revitalized, welcoming creek! We have a video of the proposed restoration HERE.
Join the LFWA Willett Branch Working Group to help plan and implement a public outreach and advocacy campaign. Even if you can only contribute a few hours a month, we encourage you to join. Some of the activities we are considering: tabling information stations at local stores, hosting cottage meetings to inform friends and neighbors, serving as a neighborhood liaison to distribute flyers, post notices, place articles in community newsletters, etc., organize a public letter-writing campaign. Contact us at info@LFWA.org if you are interested in helping out.
Make a donation to support the efforts of the Little Falls Watershed Alliance to raise awareness and public support for the Willett Branch and surrounding natural areas.
The Planning Staff's December 3, 2015 presentation to the Planning Board is HERE.
A tour of the Willett Branch in the Westbard Sector can be downloaded HERE
The Approved and Adopted (July 2016) Sector Plan is HERE.
Equity One's Sketch Plan with revisions is HERE.
Planning Staff's Recommendation to the Planning Board on the Sketch Plan is HERE.