Westwood Tower Statement

In 1997, as part of its mission to provide affordable housing throughout Montgomery County, HOC executed a lease with an option to purchase the Westwood Tower property in Bethesda. That lease allows HOC to maintain and enhance affordable housing in this part of the county for low- and moderateincome residents; the lease is still in effect, although the property has changed hands twice since the lease was signed. Over the past several years, the Westbard community has undergone a County-sponsored master plan process that impacts the Westwood Tower property.

Recently members of the Macedonia Baptist Church and other groups concerned with the history of the property have testified about their concerns regarding Westwood Tower and HOC's interest in enhancing the property for affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents at the Housing Opportunities Commission (Montgomery County) monthly meeting. In connection with appearing at the Commission meeting and undertaking protest activities, members of the church and others have distributed press releases and petitions requesting that the Commission vote on issues that are the subject of pending litigation.

While we are sympathetic to the concerns raised, given that there is a pending lawsuit involving the property and some of the concerns raised by the Church, our counsel has advised that we make no public statements related to matters that are subject to pending litigation or ongoing mediation.

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