Planners hope to show what specific changes might be coming to downtown Bethesda with a live online broadcast featuring area property owners.

The Online Property Owners Forum is part of the Bethesda Downtown Plan — the revision of the Central Business District’s sector plan that will set guidelines for zoning, roads and other land use policies for the next 20-25 years.

Instead of a more typical open house or exhibit style event, county planners will live stream short presentations from property owners from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 29. Planners think the format will allow them to reach more people.

Also part of the forum will be an interactive map showing ideas for redevelopment around town.

The Planning Department announced the forum on Friday and is looking for property owners considering changes that might come about as a result of new zoning in the new sector plan.

Planners have requested images, descriptions and contact information in each property owner presentation. Those who participate will also broadcast their presentations from Planning Department headquarters in Silver Spring. The department sent an invitation to the event to all property owners in downtown Bethesda:


You are invited to participate in an online “forum” for the Bethesda Downtown Plan. Many of you have attended face-to-face meetings and events about the Bethesda Downtown Plan and we are grateful for your feedback and involvement. Please take this opportunity to share your most current ideas for your property. The online forum follows in the tradition of what was once called a “property owners’ forum”. As you know, we had earlier considered hosting an open house/exhibit style event rather than a “forum”. However, we believe that by using an online platform instead, we will be able to engage more people.

Planners will make their sector plan recommendations to the Planning Board in December.
In a preliminary concept plan presented in May, planners identified the area of Pearl Street between Montgomery Avenue and East-West Highway as an area very much in play for large-scale redevelopment.  A group of property owners there have come to planners with specific plans for transforming the area with more mixed-use development.
The same could be true of the area of office buildings along Arlington Road just north of Bradley Boulevard, where property owners have also come to planners with ideas for redevelopment.
“We hope that this new approach will better enable you and others to confer and collaborate to find common ground as we move forward with work on the Sector Plan,” read the invitation to property owners. “We encourage everyone to continue communicating via e-mail, phone conversations and face to face meet-ups.”