Planners to Hold Virtual Listening Sessions on Downtown, Adjacent Communities Plan

The county’s Planning Department will hold the first of three virtual “listening sessions” on what’s been rechristened the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan on Tuesday, July 21 from noon to 1:15 p.m.

The discussion is part of the launch of the sector plan process for the Central Business District and surrounding area.

The Planning Board at its June 4 meeting voted to approve a Scope of Work for the downtown sector plan that adds portions of adjacent neighborhoods to the study area.

That area now will include a zone that’s within a half-mile/ten-minute pedestrian “walkshed” from the future Silver Spring Library Purple Line Station. This expansion includes part of the neighborhoods of Woodside, Woodside Park, Seven Oaks/Evanswood and East Silver Spring.

Each virtual meeting, according to a press release, will include a short introduction, and then smaller group discussions. During the online event, participants will be asked to share their thoughts about Silver Spring and respond to prompts, such as: 

  • What do you like or dislike about Silver Spring?  
  • What do you wish Silver Spring had? 
  • What hopes and fears do you have about the future of Silver Spring? 
  • How do you want to share your thoughts and ideas with staff throughout this process? 
  • What are the best ways to stay in touch with you?”

The planning process, which is expected to take two to three years, will update the 2000 Silver Spring Central Business District Sector Plan.

“We’re going to be entering into a two- to three-year process to study whether the properties within the boundaries of the study area should have any land use changes,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright following the June 4 meeting. “It does not mean than anything is automatically going to be rezoned, but it does mean that as part of the master plan study area, we are going to be looking at land-use issues for all the properties within the boundary.

“The land-use issues that the board specifically asked us to look at in the expanded boundary area was whether there should be a consideration of allowing for some development other than single-family, detached housing,” Wright continued. “Should we be allowing for what we are calling missing middle, but it could be duplexes, it could be triplexes, it could be townhouses. Should we be considering any of those types of uses in the study area?”

In addition to the listening sessions, the community outreach process is expected to include correspondence, block meetings and expert speakers.

The department is also planning tours of examples of what’s known as “missing middle” housing. The board specifically directed the department to study and explore the feasibility of such housing in the planning area.

To participate in the upcoming meetings:

Tuesday, July 21, Noon–1:15 p.m. 

To join the meeting online, use this link:

To join the meeting by phone, dial +1-301-715-8592 and enter 837 6487 6946 for the meeting ID 

Monday, July 27, 5:30–6:45 p.m.  

To join the meeting online, use this link:

To join the meeting by phone, dial +1-301-715-8592 and enter 886 8791 9609 for the meeting ID 

Tuesday, August 4, 7–8:15 p.m.  

To join the meeting online, use this link:

To join the meeting by phone, dial +1-301-715-8592 and enter 854 2935 7109 for the meeting ID 

Montgomery County photo. Below, screenshot including 1/2 mile walkshed (outlined with black dashes) from planning staff boundary report.


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