City-County Planning Department

The Durham City-County Planning Department is the planning agency for the City and County of Durham. The Department works with the community to develop long-range and special area plans containing policies to direct growth. Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the Department helps to make Durham a great place to live, work, and play by working to create a strong and diverse economy, and thriving and livable neighborhoods, as well as the County’s Strategic Plan goals of Environmental Stewardship and Community Prosperity and Safe Community.

If you are interested in learning more about some of the Planning Department’s recent activities and initiatives, please read our 2017 Annual Report

Planners develop policies addressing:
  • Economic development
  • Environment
  • Government services and facilities
  • Historic resources
  • Housing
  • Land use
  • Open space
  • Transportation
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 also guides how the City and County should provide public facilities and services to support future growth.

Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)

Adopted in 2006, the 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 replaced the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances.

Track Active Demolition Permits

Residents interested in demolition activity now have the ability to track active demolition permits on-line and in real-time through the Durham Demolition Permit Tracker. This new website shows active demolition permits alongside historic districts and landmarks, and allows residents to view the permit number, issuance date, and description.
Note: Demolition permits are processed by the City-County Inspections Department. The City of Durham and Durham County have no legal means to prohibit or delay the demolition of structures, except when the structure is 1) within a local historic district or 2) is designated as a local historic landmark. In these 2 instances, the Historic Preservation Commission may impose up to a 1-year delay on demolitions pursuant to criteria established within each local historic district. After the (maximum) 1-year period, the structure may be demolished in accordance with state law.

If you have questions regarding whether a demolition delay applies to a particular property, please contact Historic Preservation staff at 
in the City-County Planning Department or at 919-560-4137.