Compact Neighborhood Affordable Housing Bonus

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

October Update to the City Council


At the October 5 work session, Planning Staff presented the latest draft text amendment to receive feedback and comments from the City Council. See below links to the presentation and memo.

Public Meeting Materials

The Planning Department hosted 2 public meetings on May 18 and June 6 to receive feedback on the proposed updates to the Affordable Housing Bonus offered in Compact Neighborhood Tiers. Materials from the meetings can be found in the links below:

How could this affect development near me? Compare height and density in each Compact Neighborhood: 


Share Your Comments!



The public comment period on the draft text amendment is open through the end of June 2017. Whether you were able to attend the public meetings or have reviewed the online materials, we welcome your comments and questions. Please share your comments with us by emailing Hannah Jacobson.

Access the complete draft text amendment (TC1600005) here.

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 8 Compact Neighborhoods in Durham focused along the planned Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit corridor and the proposed Durham-Wake Commuter Rail Transit corridor. A map of the Compact Neighborhoods can be found here.

What are the highlights of the draft affordable housing bonus?

  • Multifamily housing developments where 15% of the total units qualify as affordable 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 in height. Height is limited to 50 feet if the development is next to single-family neighborhoods.
  • Developments need to be designed in such a way to promote a walkable and human-scaled urban form.

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.