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.

Development Tracking & GIS Mapping

The Department has an interactive iMaps (GIS) application called the Durham Development Tracker, which does that and much more. Adobe Flash Player is required.  
  • This tool opens a web page and shows colored dots and boxes on the map for current and recent development proposals in the City and County.
  • Zoom to your area of interest by entering an address or intersecting streets into the "Address & Intersection Search" Quick Tool bar at the top of the map. 
  • Then click on a nearby colored dot or box to get the basic information about the case. 
  • The Development Tracker tool also shows development activity approved in the last 12 months by using the "Search Cases" tab in the Development Tracker. 
  • The iMaps application also gives you access to the GIS layers that Planning staff uses, such as zoning, overlays, tiers, future land use, environmental features, streets, and aerial photography. 
  • Moving the mouse over the black bar at the top right corner of the web page shows different views, such as the "Planning Layers" base maps and "More" layers. 
  • For help with this tool, please contact the Development Services Center by submitting a ticket here.

Track Active Demolition Permits

Residents interested in demolition activity now have the ability to track active demolition permits on-line and in real-time. The City of Durham and Durham County have jointly created a new web feature that allows residents to view active demolition permits within both jurisdictions. Residents are able to do so through 2 websites:
  • Durham Demolition Permit Tracker is a new website dedicated to showing active demolition permits alongside historic districts and landmarks. This simplified site allows residents to view the permit number, issuance date, description, and more. 
  • Durham Development Tracker is an existing website that allows users to view a wide range of planning and zoning information, as described above. Demolition permits have been added as a feature to this existing website and found under the “more” tab in the upper right corner of that site's web page. 
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.