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- City-County Planning
City-County Planning Department
ABOUT DURHAM CITY-COUNTY PLANNING
The Durham City-County Planning Department is the professional planning agency for the City and County of Durham. The Department helps plan and direct Durham’s vision for growth that supports a high quality of life, a robust economy, and a sustainable, inclusive, equitable, and accessible Durham for generations to come. We work with the community and other agencies looking for solutions to today’s land-use and community planning challenges. The Department also takes the lead in reviewing development proposals and enforcing adopted ordinances and plans.
For more information, go to Learn More and discover more about Durham City-County Planning and common topics involved with the planning process.
The Durham Planning Department offers a variety of services to help manage land use throughout the City of Durham and Durham County. Below you will find resources to better understand various Rules and Regulations regarding ordinances and enforcement, information about Zoning and Property Information, how Approval Processes and Inspections are conducted, and to apply for an Development Application or Permit. Our resources are designed to introduce important common topics in local planning and assist the community with navigating application and approval processes.
If you are unable to find what you are looking for, you can contact the Planning Department at [email protected] or by calling 919-560-4137.
Notice on Review Timelines
Due to the current and upcoming vacancies, within our organization, Durham Development Services has temporarily revised review timelines for several approval processes. Please see the 2023 Development Review Timelines (PDF) for more information.
Special Projects and Important Resources
New Durham Comprehensive Plan
After three and a half years of staff working with the Durham community, a full draft of the new Comprehensive Plan is available for review and the public hearing and adoption process began in February of 2023. The Comprehensive Plan is Durham's statement of how we want to grow and develop. The plan guides where and how private development should occur. It guides how the City and County should provide public facilities and services to support future growth. The plan is long range in scope, focusing on the ultimate needs of the community rather than the pressing concerns of today.
- For information on the process to develop the new Comprehensive Plan, visit https://engagedurham.com/27/Comprehensive-Plan.
- For information on the public hearing and adoption process, visit https://engagedurham.com/201/Adoption-Process.
- For current engagement opportunities on the plan, visit https://durham.mysocialpinpoint.com/comprehensiveplan.
Growth Management Engagement Initiative
The Durham City-County Planning Department wants to hear from you about how we should improve the way land use cases are processed. Land use cases include zoning map changes and annexation petitions. We have heard from our community that the current processes need to be changed to better serve both community members and applicants.
The purpose of this engagement initiative is to:
- Learn from Durham community members and applicants, prioritizing historically marginalized and underrepresented voices
- Educate our community on how land use decisions are made and how community members can influence new development being proposed today
- Incorporate community voices and experiences into the development process
There are several steps on the path forward to making the land use engagement initiative successful, and we’d like to invite you to be a part of this collaborative journey.
Engage on Proposed Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Text Amendments
A Text Amendment is a proposed change or revision to existing rules or regulations. In Durham, the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) is a tool that regulates what development looks, feels, and sounds like in the City and County. The purpose of the UDO is to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of all Durham City and County residents. The UDO was adopted in 2006, and since then, has needed some periodic updates or improvements, called Text Amendments.
Text amendments to the UDO can be initiated by a resident or other entities through an application to the Planning Department. Text amendments can also be initiated by the Planning Department, City or County Managers, the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustment, or one or both of the governing bodies.
Public Records Request
As required by state law, Planning staff will help customers obtain public records related to land development, building inspections, and zoning enforcement. In addition, interested parties can also browse recent development activity, sign up for announcements, and receive notifications when development activity is occurring.
- Land Development Office (LDO)
Used to check the status of submitted applications. Contact Planning Customer Service at [email protected] to create a log-in if you don't have one.
- Durham Maps
Browse development activity and property information on a map.
- Environmental records
Information about how to contain records related to hazardous materials and sites.
- Minimum Housing Code enforcement is managed by Neighborhood Improvement Services (NIS)—requests for these records should be submitted to NIS through the City's Public Records Request Portal.
- Use the Records Requests portal (NextRequest) for all other public record requests not listed above.
Boards and Commissions
The Planning Department provides staff liaisons to 6 boards and commissions. Members of these boards and commissions are appointed by the Durham County Board of County Commissioners and the Durham City Council.
The Durham City-County Planning Department has gathered additional resources to aid in the development of our community. Click on a topic below to learn more about our department and supplemental planning information:
Durham Historic Preservation has been proactively dedicated to the protection and preservation of its historic resources since the 1970s by inventorying historically significant structures in the City and County, designating local historic districts and landmarks, establishing and supporting the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), and nominating properties and districts for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Learn more about:
Unified Development Ordinance
Adopted in 2006, the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) lays out the rules for the physical development of property. The UDO designates zoning of properties in Durham, and is crafted to result in a built environment that meets the goals of the Comprehensive Plan. The UDO superseded the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances.
Please click on the following link to access a searchable and navigable version of the UDO, which indicates the most recent “amended date” and includes a list of adopted text amendments.
Click or call 919-560-1200