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AppendixB:

Outreach
Outreach strategies for the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan engaged a broad cross-section of residents,
business owners and stakeholders who have an interest in the future of the area through face-to-face
meetings and digital tools. The strategies enabled participants to focus on both the overall goals of the
Plan and also interact with staff in smaller group settings. The following appendix includes an outline
of the community outreach strategies used during the course of the project up to the delivery of the
working draft in May 2015.

OutreachstrategiesfortheBethesdaDowntownSectorPlanengagedabroadcrosssectionofresidents,
businessownersandstakeholderswhohaveaninterestinthefutureoftheareathroughfacetoface
meetingsanddigitaltools.Thestrategiesenabledparticipantstofocusonboththeoverallgoalsofthe
Planandalsointeractwithstaffinsmallergroupsettings.

Digitalstrategies,includingonlinequestionnaires,requiredexpandingemaillistsforthePlanto
encouragetheparticipationoflargegroupsofpeoplewhohavelimitedtimeorcapabilitytoattendface
tofacemeetings.Theyenabledpeopletoeasilyparticipateatanyhourofanyday,towhateverextent.

Infall2013,theBethesdaDowntownSectorPlanwaslaunchedwithapublickickoffmeetingandtwo
smallerdropinmeetings,andthenfocusedonthescopeofworkatapublicforum.Threefacetoface
workshopsweresubsequentlyheldonvisioning,neighborhoodsandecodistricts.Theworkshops
garneredexcellentparticipationfrombabyboomers,especiallythoselivinginsurroundingcommunities
outsidetheSectorPlanboundary.However,attendanceatthesepublicmeetingswasnoticeablylowon
thepartoftheyoungerGenXandGenYgenerations.Demographicinformationcollectedateachevent
confirmedwhattheplannersobservedandhelpedtomeasureprogress.

Staffidentifiedtheneedtotargettheengagementofmillennials,particularlythoseresidingwithinthe
SectorPlanBoundary.Demographicsshowedthat60percentoftheresidentswithintheboundaryare
betweentheagesof22and49yearsofage.Plannersalsomonitoredothercharacteristics,suchas
involvementbyresidents,peoplewhoworkwithintheSectorPlanboundary,peoplewhosechildren
spendtimethereandrealestateprofessionals.

InHouseFocusGroup
Staffdecidedtoadjusttheoutreachtoachievebetterrepresentationofmillennialsandafocusgroup
withyoungBethesdaresidentswasheldatthePlanningDepartmenttogatherideas.Outreach
approachesgarneredfromotherplanningdepartmentsthroughoutthecountrywerealsoconsidered.
StaffcontactedcommunityandbusinessesviatheDowntownBethesdaPlanwebsitetohelpreach
millennialsandconsiderhostingeventsaimedatthisgroup.

DigitalMedia
AnonlinenewsletterandFacebookadswerelaunchedtoboostpoststotheselecteddemographic
withintargetedzipcodes.Researchindicatedsocialmediaispopularwiththemillennialdemographic
andTwitterwasalsousedtoreachalargersegmentofthispopulation.

VisualPreferenceStudy
Staffcreatedavisualpreferencestudytoadvancetheconversationwiththecommunityanddistributed
itthroughalocalCountyCouncilmemberselisttoreachmoreresidentswithintheplanningarea(see
resultsofthevisualpreferencesurveyontheBethesdaDowntownwebsiteat
http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/bethesda_downtown/index.shtm).

MillennialOutreach
Toengagemoremillennialsintheplanningprocess,staffworkedwithbusinessesinDowntown
Bethesdatohosthappyhoursatlocalrestaurantsandoffices.Thegoalwastoengagetheseyounger
residentsandotherswhotypicallydonotparticipateinplanningeffortsthroughmoreinformal,
conversationaleventsthantypicalcommunitymeetingsandpresentations.Thehappyhoursallowed
participantstomeettheplanningteam,askquestionsanddiscussplanningissueswithinacasual,social
setting.

ThefirstofthehappyhourswashostedinApril2014bytheblogGreaterGreaterWashington,DC,the
DCchapteroftheCongressforNewUrbanismandYoung,Innovative,ProfessionalPlanningSuperstars
(YIPPS).YoungLeadersinAffordableHousinghostedthesecondeventinMay2014.Thethirdwas
hostedinJuly2014byStreetsensewithJBGandClarkConstruction,andsupportfromNextExecsGroup
oftheGreaterBethesdaChevyChaseChamberofCommerce.AfourthhappyhourwasheldinJanuary
2015atSK&IArchitectswithsupportfromthePotomacValleychapteroftheAmericanInstituteof
Architects.

Inaddition,staffconductedoutreachattheBethesdaCentralFarmersMarketontwoSundaysduring
summer2014toengagemillennialsandothersintheplanningprocess.

LiveOnlinePropertyOwnersForumandInteractiveMap
ThepurposeofthisforuminOctober2014wastoenhancetransparencyoftheplanningprocessand
providetheopportunityforpropertyownerstoshareinformationandideas,andcollaboratewiththe
communityregardingtheirproperties.Themostsignificantoutcomeoftheliveonlineforumwas
relatedtothemajorcivicspacesshownintheConceptFrameworkPlan,focusingontheideasproposed
forthecentralplazaattheBethesdaMetroStation.

Aninteractivemapshowingthepropertiesdiscussedduringtheonlineforumwaslaunchedonthe
PlanningDepartmentswebsitetoencourageandassistthecommunication.Themapshowsthe
physicaldistributionofpropertiesunderdiscussion,identifiespropertyownersandprovidesan
opportunityforeachownertoprovidewebpageinformationandsharematerialswiththepublic(see
presentationsfromthepropertyownersforumontheBethesdaDowntownwebsiteat
http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/bethesda_downtown/index.shtm).

FeedbackLoopThisonlinequestionnaire,postedonthePlanningDepartmentwebsitein

December2014,providedtheopportunityforthepublictoreacttopreliminaryplanningconcepts
proposedfortheBethesdaDowntownPlan.Itencouragedtheengagementofallgenerationslivingand
workinginthearea;andbroughtamorerepresentativeproportionofGenYandGenXresidentsinto
theprocess.

Respondentswereinvitedtoofferviewsonanumberofconcepts,rangingfrombikepathsto

buildingheights,throughashort,manageableformat.Theycouldfocusonatopicofinterest
andstayuptodateonthelatestplanideas.Fromtheirfeedback,plannersbetterunderstood
thecommunitysprioritiesforDowntownBethesda(seeFeedbackLoopresultsontheBethesda
Downtownwebsiteat
http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/bethesda_downtown/index.shtm).