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Small Business Owners Concerned About Westbard's Future

A redevelopment plan in Bethesda's Westbard neighborhood has small business owners worried. Equity One plans to redevelop 22 acres around Westbard Avenue, an area with properties that haven't been updated in up to 50 years. The company plans to add roughly 75 townhouses and 450 residential units. However, with demolition and construction a long way away, the fate of small businesses is up in the air, Gazette.Net reports. Business owners are concerned they won't get a heads-up until six months before their leases end, and in some cases leases have construction clauses that can force a tenant to move out ahead of time. Equity One EVP Michael Berfield says tenants will not be caught having to make last-minute decisions. The County Planning Department's community meeting will be held on April 22, followed by a presentation to the Planning Board on April 30. [Gazette]