Stormwater Plan Falls Short for New Westwood Shopping Center

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 2:54pm

Developer Proposes to Treat Only Half of Stormwater On Site

The plans for the new shopping center and town house complex at Westwood in Bethesda were submitted in May 2018 by Regency Centers.  The Stormwater management plan is only treating 54% of the required stormwater run-off on-site.  The developer asking to send the remaining 47% into the stormwater system via stormwater vaults.  Water in the stormwater system will go directly to the Willett Branch without being treated. 
Proposal Doesn't Meet Requirements to Treat 1.8 inches of Rain with Green Features
We strongly object to this plan as it ignores the Sector Plan's directive to treat 100 percent of the stormwater run-off (1.8 inches for this development) on-site with environmental features (ESD) to the maximum extent possible.  Regency Centers has not demonstrated it is not feasible to treat all the rain water on-site.  Further,  applicant has not demonstrated "that all reasonable opportunities for meeting stormwater requirements using ESD have been exhausted by using natural areas and landscape features to manage runoff from impervious surfaces, and that structural BMPs have been used only where absolutely necessary" (MDE Stormwater Design Manual, Chapter 5, Part 5.1 Design Process and Planning Techniques, page 5.4).  This a mandatory requirement for ESD compliance within MDE's stormwater manual, and it requires the integration of natural areas and landscape features, such as trees and vegetated buffers, into the ESD analysis - which must be exhaustive.
Full Compliance with ESD Required for Health of the Willett Branch
Treatment of stormwater on site is the center of the County Stormwater Management permit and necessary for the health of our waterways - including the soon to be naturalize Willett Branch.  The Willett Branch runs through the Westbard area and will soon be part of a new stream valley park.  The concrete is to be removed and the creek returned to a natural state.  This new creek will need the best environmental practices to ensure its success.  Untreated stormwater rushing into its new banks will cause erosion and loss of habitat for the critters that depend on the creek for their shelter.  
If you, as a homeowner, wanted to build a new house, you would have to treat all the stormwater on site.  Westbard Self Storage Facility, the most recent new development in the Westbard Sector is meeting its ESD requirements.  Regency Centers must  be held to the same standards.
More information about the Westwood Shopping Center and Town House development is HERE.
LFWA comments to the Planning and Permitting Staff are HERE