Compact Neighborhood Affordable Housing Bonus

For additional information contact:
Hannah Jacobson, 919-560-4137, ext. 28247, or email Hannah Jacobson


The Durham City Council and the Durham Board of County Commissioners have approved the Compact Neighborhood Tier Affordable Housing Bonuses. See the links below for full detail.

Memo to City Council on February 19, 2018
Approved Text Amendment TC1600005


  • To be eligible for the bonuses, sites must be located in a Compact Neighborhood Tier and multifamily housing must be a permitted use. 
  • Multifamily housing developments where 15% of the total units qualify as affordable to households earning 60 percent of Area Median Income or less are eligible for density and height bonuses.
  • Developments that incorporate affordable housing can build up to 75 units per acre and up to 90 feet. Height is limited to 50 feet if the development is within a designated distance of to single-family neighborhoods. 
  • Developments need to be designed in such a way to promote a walkable and human-scaled urban form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an affordable housing bonus? 

An affordable housing bonus is an increase in the number of housing units and building heights that are currently allowed under a specific zoning regulation, in exchange for building more affordable housing units that help the City and County meet its housing goals. 

Where is the proposed affordable housing bonus to be in effect? What are Compact Neighborhoods? 

Compact Neighborhoods are areas mapped on the Future Land Use Map near planned rail transit stations that are envisioned, over the long term, to host additional development that is higher density, mixed use, and walkable. There are eight Compact Neighborhoods in Durham focused along the planned Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit corridor and the proposed Durham-Wake Commuter Rail Transit corridor. Maps of each Compact Neighborhood can be found here.

Why are the affordable housing bonuses considered interim?

These bonuses are intended to replace and strengthen the incentive to build affordable housing currently in place. It is an interim measure while the City develops a longer term strategy for affordable housing that will be put in place concurrently with Compact Design zoning.