Westbard Development Opponents Get $5,000 Donation From 550-home Neighborhood Group for Court Battle

Case aimed at blocking redevelopment plans set for Friday court hearing


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Robert Lipman (speaking) at a "Save Westbard" protest in April in Rockville.

Aaron Kraut

A 550-home neighborhood association in Westbard is putting $5,000 toward a court battle against Bethesda redevelopment plans.

The Sumner Citizens Association board on Monday voted to contribute funds for the ongoing lawsuit against the Montgomery County Council and government. The case filed in September by 33 Bethesda and Chevy Chase residents is aimed at blocking the Westbard Sector Plan, which would allow the construction of high-rise buildings and dense housing.

Patricia Kolesar, member of SaveWestbard, a residents' group that is raising money for the lawsuit, said the final support of the citizens association is a major development for its effort.

“This was the first time that a civic association in the area stepped up to the plate and said, ‘We believe in this cause and we’re going to contribute,’ ” she said.

An email from Sid Clemans, Sumner Citizens Association president, explained that his group decided to donate after surveying residents. A majority of those polled said they opposed the Westbard development plans, according to the message that went out to association members. The community is not altogether against development, but doesn’t like the vision sketched out under the sector plan, he said.

“The goal is to scale the shopping and residential redevelopment to be compatible with our long-stable, suburban neighborhoods and ensure it does not overwhelm infrastructure,” Clemans wrote.

The case is set to be in court Friday for a scheduling conference.

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