Westwood Tower Statement

In 1997, as part of its mission to provide affordable housing throughout Montgomery County, HOC signed a lease with an option to purchase the Westwood Tower property in the 20th year of the lease. In January 2018, HOC completed the acquisition of Westwood Tower.

The Commission will continue operating Westwood Tower in its current state and has no plans for development at this time. In furtherance of our mission, HOC intends to increase the level of affordability at Westwood Tower. Westwood Tower currently provides 43 affordable units – supporting families who earn 50% of the Area Median Income and below. Increasing affordability at this property ensures these and other families can continue to enjoy the excellent schools, jobs and recreational opportunities the Westbard community has to offer.

Serving Montgomery County’s most vulnerable residents remains at the center of our work. As the new owners of the Westwood Tower property and as a member of the Westbard community, HOC is committed to making responsible decisions about how to serve the people of Montgomery County and the history of the neighborhood.

We understand the sensitivity of the issue in relation to the history of this area. Moving forward, HOC will continue to listen to the concerns of the Westbard community.

The Commission has no plans to pursue development, and consequently no plans to pursue a historical/archaeological evaluation of the property at this time.

HOC’s History of Involvement with Westwood Towers

March 1997: HOC initiates a master lease with an option to purchase – the purchase has not yet been executed - the Westwood Tower property to provide affordable housing to low- and moderate-income households

2013: Equity One acquires Westwood Tower

December 2014: First briefing on Westbard Sector Plan is presented to the Planning Board

March 2016: Revised Westbard Sector Plan is adopted

August 2016: Montgomery County Planning Department begins meetings to discuss Equity One Sketch Plan application

December 2016: Equity One and Planning Department propose to commission and fund a historical and archaeological study of Westbard cemetery site Planning Department delays the study pending availability of a firm preferred by members of the Macedonia Baptist Church and other groups

March 2017: Regency Centers acquires all of Equity One’s holdings including Westwood Towers

April 2017: Firm preferred by some members of the Westbard community becomes available and work on the study begins Study delayed as Westbard community members seek Montgomery County funding for a peer review of the historical and archaeological study results.

May 2017: County sponsored mediation begins between Montgomery County government, the Planning Department, Regency Centers, HOC, and interested parties from the Westbard community including Macedonia Baptist Church

June 2017: Second mediation session is held

July 2017: HOC is added as a defendant in Westbard Sector Plan lawsuit

September 2017: The Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County terminates the mediation process after being unable to set a meeting date that accommodates schedules for the key parties