Planners Revise Schedule for Downtown Listening Sessions, Add Virtual Office Hours

The county’s Planning Department has revised the schedule of three virtual “listening sessions” for the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan following a Zoombombing incident that forced the cancellation of the initial July 21 session.

“Our meeting was ‘hacked’ by unknown individuals who disrupted the meeting from the very start with visual and audio intrusions,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright in a message apologizing for the incident. “These intrusions included hate-speech and obscenities.”

The discussions are part of the launch of the sector plan process for the Central Business District. The planning 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.

The department is now requiring that participants register in advance for the sessions to avoid similar problems. The sessions will now be held on te following days and times, according to a press release:

The department will email registrants the link one hour ahead of start time on the day of the event, and recommends that participants log in 15 minutes prior to the start.

Staff members will facilitate the sessions, which will include a short presentation about the background of the sector plan. The bulk of the time will allow participants to share their input about the plan.

In addition, the department will offer weekly online office hours during August for one-on-one conversations with a planner, to ask questions or share thoughts about the future of the plan area. Community members can join the sessions at any time between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. each week on the following days and times:

Registrations are required to receive the log-in information.

Contact staff with questions or comments:

Atara Margolies, Project Manager, 301.495.4558, [email protected], or Leslye Howerton, Area 1 Master Planning Supervisor, 301.495.4566 or [email protected]

Montgomery County photo