About the Development Services Center

To Durham Residents and Customers of the Durham City-County Planning Department (Planning), the City-County Inspections Department (Inspections), and the City Public Works Department (Public Works):


As you may know, Durham’s elected officials, along with the state and federal government, have adopted many standards and requirements, such as building codes and zoning codes, associated with l

and development over the past several decades. 

These standards are designed to help protect life and safety, the natural environment, and the quality and character of our neighborhoods, and they’ve helped make Durham the livable, thriving City and County it is today. 

These standards and requirements (“the development review process”) are administered by over 20 City and County departments, based on the expertise of these different departments (e.g.: Transportation, Public Utilities, Planning). Over 70 different permits and/or reviews may be required, depending on the complexity of the development proposed.   

While all City and County departments do outstanding work in their program areas, the need to get multiple approvals from multiple different City and/or County departments can lead to a frustrating customer experience and undue delays in home improvement projects or other development projects. Additionally, it can be difficult for interested residents and other persons to get information on the status of a development project planned near their neighborhood or business.


In an effort, therefore, to improve the development review process, the City and County have partnered to create the Development Services Center (DSC), which opened on Monday, April 3, 2017. The DSC is a joint initiative of the Planning, Inspections, and Public Works Departments, managed under the auspices of the Planning Department. All existing staff and services from the Planning, Inspections, Public Works Departments, and other development review departments will remain available via the DSC unless an improved process is identified. Notification of any change of services will be provided.

  • The DSC is designed to be a “one-stop-shop” for information about and assistance with the development review process in Durham. This includes intake of Planning, Inspections, and Public Works plans and answering inquiries related to development review. 
  • The DSC will also provide limited express review (i.e. quick turn-around) services for smaller building projects, some formerly Planning Customer Service applications, such as Home Occupation Permits, Street Vendor Registrations, etc., and a number of other new services. 
  • Additional information will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

Most importantly, we want and need your feedback on how the DSC is doing, how services can be improved, and your ideas for future services. Please contact us with any feedback, questions, comments, or concerns at DSC@DurhamNC.gov, at the above listed phone numbers, or contact Pat Young, Development Services Center Manager, directly at 919-560-4137 ext. 28273, or via email. All feedback – positive and negative – is appreciated.

Thank you very much, we are looking forward to serving you in the DSC soon.


Location and Hours:

The DSC is located in the former lobby area of the Planning and Inspections Department on the ground floor of City Hall (101 City Hall Plaza) and will be open each day between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., excluding holidays. Inspections staff, excluding permit technicians, are available starting at 7:30 a.m., as they are now, including via telephone. 

Telephone Calls:

The DSC, along with Inspections and Planning, may be reached via telephone at 919-560-4137 or at 919-560-4144. If you do not reach a customer service representative when you call, our service goal is to return all phone calls on the same business day if they are received before 3:00 p.m. Calls received after 3:00 p.m. will be returned on the next business day. 

Building and trade inspectors and Inspections staff, except for permit technicians, can still be reached through their direct telephone lines. Inspections permit technicians can be reached through the main DSC telephone numbers listed above. 

Public Works staff can be reached through the main DSC telephone numbers listed above, but also through their existing telephone number at 919-560-4326.


DSC and other development review staff may be contacted through their existing email addresses or through DSC@DurhamNC.gov, a new email address for all services under the DSC. Our service goal is to provide acknowledgement emails on the same business day if they are received before 3 p.m., and resolution of inquiries within 3 days when possible. Emails received after 3 p.m. will be returned on the next business day.

In-Person Walk-Ins:

In order to ensure that all customer inquiries are fully addressed and that we have adequate staffing for the volume of development review related inquiries, we will be asking all DSC walk-in customers to check-in with the DSC Customer Service Assistant. The DSC Customer Service Assistant will ensure that you are properly routed to the correct DSC, or other Department, staff.