Montgomery County planners have unveiled their first specific ideas for what the Westbard section of Bethesda could look like in the next 20-25 years.

After a number of community outreach sessions and meetings, county planners working on the Westbard Sector Plan rewrite on Wednesday night unveiled three schemes for the section of mostly light retail, light industrial and residential uses around River Road and Westbard Avenue.

All three ideas are preliminary, but all three would include building a new street from River Road to Westbard Avenue that would run parallel with the existing Capital Crescent Trail and which planners say would provide better traffic circulation for the area.

The new street would connect with Crown Street, a small, lightly-used entrance to existing parking lots directly opposite from Westland Middle School on Westbard Avenue.

Scheme 1 as identified in planners’ Concept Framework Plan would allow 70-foot tall mixed-use development on River Road, 50-foot-tall local retail and a grocery below residential units at the existing Giant grocery store site, additions at Westland Middle School and a 120-foot tall redevelopment of the Park Bethesda luxury apartments at 5325 Westbard Ave.

Scheme 2 would allow 50-foot tall development on River Road, 50-foot tall redevelopment at the Giant grocery shopping center and a 45-foot height at the Park Bethesda apartment site, with a new Little Falls Library building at Westbard Plaza, mixed-income residential units at the existing Little Falls Library site, and a new school site at Westbard Avenue and Westbard Circle.


Scheme 3 would allow redevelopment of up to 40 feet in height on River Road, 50 feet in height along Westbard Avenue and 100 feet at the Park Bethesda site, with the new library but with the new school site taking up the existing library space.

See the Powerpoint presentation below for more details and remember that planners are taking community input on the three schemes starting at 6 p.m. during a meeting at Walt Whitman High School: