Current Topics

The New Durham Comprehensive Plan

Durham is beginning work on a new Comprehensive Plan! The Durham Comprehensive Plan is a long range plan that shapes how the City and County grow. Our current plan is nearly 13 years old and Durham has seen a lot of change in that time. Durham’s community priorities have also evolved. We recognize that in order to build a successful new plan we must first listen to the priorities and concerns of the community through an equitable community engagement process.

Expanding Housing Choices

Fast-paced population growth, limited availability of developable tracts, and a renewed preference for in-town living has led to a housing availability and affordability challenge for Durham. Over time, zoning rules have restricted development in many neighborhoods almost exclusively to single-family dwellings, eliminating many of the small-scale and often more affordable multifamily options that once existed. Often referred to as “Missing Middle” housing, this project will explore ways to eliminate regulatory barriers and expand the choices that people have when it comes to housing types. 

Patterson Place Design District Zoning Regulations

The Durham City Council and Durham County Board of Commissioners have adopted Compact Neighborhood Tier areas around planned stations along the proposed transit corridor. The adopted Compact Neighborhoods are envisioned, over the long term, to evolve into communities with development that is higher density, mixed use, and walkable. From Durham Comprehensive Plan policy 2.1.3j.:

Design Districts are intended to encourage intense development and transit and pedestrian oriented activity. Regulations focus on form of the private and public realm rather than use and intensity. Design Districts are intended to encompass the Downtown and Compact Neighborhood Tiers, and are accommodated by the Downtown Design (DD-) and Compact Design (CD-) zoning districts.

A variety of additional Comprehensive Plan policies have been adopted to guide development in the Compact Neighborhoods. From establishing higher residential densities (Policy 2.1.3d, Table 2-1), to enhancing street-level experiences (Policy 2.2.4a), creating 24-hour places by providing a mix of uses (Policy 2.2.4b), and supporting multi-modal transportation (Policy 2.4.1a).


Revisions to Sign Regulations

In 2017, The Durham City-County Planning Department, in conjunction with the City and County Attorney’s offices, initiated a project to revise Durham’s sign regulations found primarily within Article 11 of the Unified Development Ordinance. The primary purpose for this project is to update the regulations to comply with the Reed v. Town of Gilbert decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. Additional updates to comply with other state and/or federal laws, along with general technical clarifications, re-organizations, and minor changes will also be included.