Applications and Fees
The Planning Department has consolidated project applications and resources into one collection. Each application link includes the necessary steps to process your application submittals and resubmittals, provide payment, as well as and future steps after submitting your application.
Any Questions - Please contact the Planning Department at 919-560-4137 or email at
Costs for the many applications and permits vary based on the complexity of the specific project. To help keep you up-to-date on any changes to various application fees, we have created a consolidated list of all our applications and fees. The fees are also included with every application listed below.
The Land Development Office (LDO) created by City and County of Durham is used to track development and permitting processes. It provides a way to create, track, maintain, and manage applications, permits, inspections, and zoning code violations. LDO provides Durham with the tools required to practice effective growth management. Customers can look at development related applications that are submitted and review comments as these documents become available during processing.
Please use the same application portal as used for your original submission of an application.
Common Planning Applications (Alphabetical)
Below is an alphabetical list of all our applications, with brief descriptions, handled through the Durham City-County Planning Department. Each topic links you to a detailed overview of each application which will discuss the expected process, prerequisite information and resources, fees, application submission, and payment processing.
If you require further assistance, contact the Planning Department at [email protected] or call us at 919-560-4137. Applications cannot be processed over the phone or email.
Types of Annexation Petitions
Certificate of Appropriateness - Major and Minor
A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is a document approving work on local historic landmarks or properties in local historic districts based on consistency with the applicable review criteria. When changes are proposed to properties within local districts or to landmarks, the proposed changes are reviewed against the Local Historic Properties Review Criteria (PDF). If the proposed changes are consistent with the Criteria, either staff or the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) will issue the COA.
Outdoor Seating Permit
Eating establishments and restaurants located in the Downtown Design and Compact Design zoning districts that wish to operate an outdoor seating area on City-maintained, public rights-of-way, City sidewalks, public alleys, and/or pedestrian ways must apply for an outdoor seating permit.
Sign Permits and Common Signage Plan
A sign is defined as any words, lettering, parts of letters, figures, numerals, phrases, sentences, emblems, devices, structures, designs, trade names, or trade marks by which anything is made known such as are used to designate an individual, a firm, an association, a corporation, a profession, a business, or a commodity or products, which are legible from any public street or adjacent property and used to attract attention.
Where a sign permit is required, applications are reviewed against applicable provisions of UDO Article 11, Sign Standards (in particular UDO Section 11.6), as well as any approved common signage plan or Certificate of Appropriateness applicable to the property.
Site Plans and Plats
A Site Plan is an accurately scaled development plan that shows existing conditions on a site as well as depicting details of proposed development. Along with a site plan, a plat is required for review.
A Plat is a map, chart, or plan of a tract or parcel of land which will be or which has been, subdivided.
Street Vendor Registration
A street vendor is any individual who sells food or goods in the street right-of-way, either from a commercial vehicle or stall. According to the Durham City Code of Ordinances, only vendors selling food and periodicals are permitted to sell within the right-of-way of a street. Street vendor registration is performed through the Planning Department and must be renewed by July 1st each year.
Temporary Use Permit
Some uses are considered temporary in nature and can be approved as a temporary use. A Temporary Use Permit (TUP) is needed whenever you plan to use a space for something other than it’s normal intended use. Most common are: construction trailers, seasonal sales (fireworks, Christmas trees, pumpkins), parking spaces used temporarily for food trucks, storage, or PODS, and festivals.
Temporary uses should not be confused with permanent outdoor activities (for example, a car sales lot) that are only allowed in certain zones and require site plan approval. Nor should they be confused with an outdoor display area (for example, a garden center that is part of a building supply store) that may be a part of a retail store and require site plan approval.
A Variance is an application request to receive an exception, or a unique circumstance, to a standard in the Unified Development Ordinance based primarily on a proven unique hardship that prevents compliance with the ordinance standard. Variance applications are heard in a quasi-judicial public hearing by the Durham City-County Board of Adjustment (BOA), and the BOA can only approve a variance if it determines the applicant has proven specific findings of fact.
Prior to submitting a Variance application, a pre-submittal meeting with staff is required. Submission of any documents and preliminary plans is helpful for staff to review your case and guide you in the review process.
There are instances where an existing watershed boundary is not correct in regards to the property in question. There may be evidence that the property in question is not within the drainage basin of the reservoir and that the site lies beyond a ridgeline forming a barrier which prevents stormwater runoff from flowing off the site in the direction of the reservoir. In this case, establishing the correct boundary in relation to the site is critical for the development. This is a rare request so please work closely with staff to work through the process.
Partnering Department Applications
As-built Drawing – Engineering, Floodplain, Stormwater
Throughout the development of a project, features of a building or site are likely to change as the developer has changes throughout the construction process. These drawings are necessary for any changes to maintain an accurate record of the building as it exists at the time of completion and sign-off.
Construction Drawings - Civil and Pump Stations
The City of Durham is tasked with reviewing construction documents for items related to residential, commercial, and pumps stations. These services are handled through the Engineering Development Review, Stormwater Division, Durham Transportation Development Review Group, and Department of Water Management.
The main purpose of floodplain rules is to provide a safe place for rising flood waters. Preserving natural floodplains reduces flooding in developed areas. This prevents expensive damage to buildings and roads. It also helps protect the quality of the water that we drink and conserves plant and wildlife habitat. Along with other measures, these rules are also required to make federally subsidized flood insurance available to Durham residents.
Any work that takes place within a City of Durham Right-of-Way requires a permit. Use the link below to learn more and submit an application. Common applications include: Construction in the Right-of-Way, Temporary Right-of-Way Closures, Outdoor Seating, and Small Cell Wireless antennas/nodes.
Video Inspections is the use special camera equipment to inspect underground water and sewer pipelines for damages, leaks and obstructions. Video Inspection is required for permitted storm drainage and sanitary sewer pipes and structures. Video inspections are mostly handled through the Durham Public Works Department. If further assistance is required, please contact Public Works at 919-560-4326.