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Westbard Cemetery Chronology

Overview

  • An African-American cemetery was identified by Planning Department staff early in the process for the Westbard Sector Plan. The Planning Department staff invested considerable resources into studying the cemetery and sought to involve Macedonia Baptist Church in the study.
  • Planning Department and Parks Department staff made numerous and proactive efforts to reach out to Macedonia Baptist Church in order to involve them in the entire Westbard Sector Plan process and discuss the cemetery.
  • In December 2015, Planning Department staff briefed the Planning Board about the cemetery in a public session. Members of the Macedonia Baptist Church participated in the work session and many residents and community members were in the audience listening to the work session. The work session was streamed live on the M-NCPPC website and is archived on the website.
  • The Westbard Sector Plan and the Plan Appendix that were transmitted to the County Council include detailed information about the cemetery.
  • The minister of the Macedonia Baptist Church testified at the County Council public hearing on the Westbard Sector Plan and all of his requests were incorporated into the Plan and the Plan Appendix.
  • After the Westbard Sector Plan was completed and the regulatory application filed, the Planning Department made a good faith effort to involve the leadership of Macedonia Baptist Church in the regular stakeholder meetings and in all issues related to the cemetery.
  • From the outset of the regulatory process, Planning Department staff told the applicant that an archaeological study would be needed. Once the church got engaged in the stakeholder meetings, Planning Department staff advocated for the property owner/applicant to hire the archaeological firm preferred by the church and have that firm investigate the parcel where the cemetery was historically located. The Planning Department offered to hire the academic archaeological experts identified by the church as a peer review group. The Planning Department delayed the Planning Board hearing on the regulatory case in an effort to work out an agreement with the church. Ultimately, the regulatory case moved forward but the Planning Department convinced the applicant to amend their proposal to “hatch out” and delay any review/action on the area around the cemetery.
  • Planning Department staff worked diligently to come up with an agreement with the academic archaeological experts identified by the church but was not successful in reaching consensus on the proposed scope of work and compensation.
  • The Planning Board and Planning Department continue to work on getting facts about the cemetery and advancing the effort to undertake an unbiased, professional archaeological study of the site.
  • No regulatory action will take place on the area around the cemetery until an appropriate archaeological study is conducted.
  • The following chronology lays out all actions related to the cemetery in great detail.
Last Updated: May 10, 2017