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Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Updates

by Bridget Schwiesow on June 25th, 2015

Bethesda Public Hearing Draft Cover
Public record remains open for one more week, community invited to continue to give feedback on plan

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission would like to remind Bethesda residents and business owners that the public record will remain open until Thursday, July 2 for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. Written or emailed testimony can be sent to These comments will become part of the public testimony and public record for the Plan.

View the Bethesda Downtown Plan Public Hearing Draft.

View the May 21 Bethesda Downtown Plan Board presentation.

The Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan Public Hearing was held on Wednesday, June 24 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. The Planning Board was pleased to offer the public hearing in a community setting. During the session, 120 residents, business owners and developers presented their testimony to Board. The event was streamed live on the Planning Department’s live streaming channel, a first for the organization and part of the effort to provide more accessibility to the master and sector planning process.

The new Plan builds on the success of Downtown Bethesda by offering ways to strengthen its centers of activity – Bethesda Row, Wisconsin Avenue corridor, Woodmont Triangle and other established and emerging districts – over the next 20 years. Among its recommendations are a high performance area that incentivizes more energy-efficient buildings, new parks, tree-lined streets and innovative storm water management. The priority of the plan is to make Bethesda into a truly sustainable downtown – economically, socially and environmentally.

Other goals of the plan focus on:

-A mix of housing options, including preservation of market-rate affordable apartments and new moderately priced dwelling units in exchange for development incentives.

-New and/or expanded civic greens at Veteran’s Park, Bethesda Farm Women’s Cooperative Market and Capital Crescent Trail.

-Economic competitiveness within the region based on new development, public amenities and proximity to transit, including Metrorail and proposed Purple Line light rail.

-Density averaging (a planning tool that allows square footage to be sent from one mixed-use site to another mixed-use site) to create or enlarge parks, protect significant community landmarks and retain affordable housing.

Work began in January 2014 on the Working Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan. Community participation was encouraged through public meetings and workshops, online surveys and happy hour events, which were intended to reach residents who don’t typically participate in the planning process.

The Plan serves as an amendment to the approved and adopted 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Sector Plan and the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that Sector Plan.

Next steps for the plan include the Planning Board’s review of staff’s recommendations during the work sessions throughout the summer and early fall 2015 before being sent to the Council for additional work sessions and approval. Final Council action is anticipated in spring 2016.

Learn more about the planning process for the Bethesda Downtown Plan.

For questions or comments about the Working Draft, please email

From → Board, Planning

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