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DURHAM, N.C. – Do you care about the future of Durham? Do you want to make sure that community voices are heard in shaping Durham’s future development? An opportunity is now available to work with City-County staff to engage all parts of the Durham community in developing a new Comprehensive Plan.
A comprehensive plan is the broadest policy document a community can create. It is the one effort that links all the important aspects of a community—land use, housing, transportation, natural environment, etc.—in one policy document. As the Durham City-County Planning Department begins to update its 13-year-old plan, community and stakeholder involvement in this process will be critical and the department is forming a group to help engage all parts of the community on how to guide future growth and development in equitable, organized, efficient, and sustainable ways.
According to Durham City-County Planning Director Patrick Young, the new Comprehensive Plan is long range in scope, and will focus on the ultimate needs of the Durham community rather than the pressing concerns of today. “Since the passage of the existing Comprehensive Plan in 2005, Durham County has added approximately 49,000 new jobs and 57,000 new residents. Over the next decade, it’s projected we will see an additional 19,000 jobs and 43,000 new residents,” Young said. “Durham is changing and it is critical that our community has a clear land use policy for the future that is our statement of how we want to grow and develop. Since this new plan is to become our collective guide, it is absolutely necessary that we have community input from every segment of Durham, and we’re reaching out now to find people to help us with this important process.”
From now until Friday, June 28, residents are invited to submit a nomination form, for themselves or someone they know, for the project’s Outreach Team. This group will help identify and recruit people to participate in this important process.
The overall purpose of the Outreach Team is to focus on a neighbor-to-neighbor approach to bringing participants into the process. The department is seeking nominations for this group to represent all parts of the community and to reflect the diversity of Durham. With the support of the planningNEXT consultant team hired by the Planning Department, along with partner departments in City and County governments, Planning staff is now working to develop new engagement methods to prioritize equity and ensure that those who have been historically excluded from decision making will have a voice. The Outreach Team will guide the engagement effort throughout the process, be tasked with spreading the word about the planning effort, and building on personal connections to encourage participation.
Some members of the Outreach Team will also be selected to serve as Engagement Ambassadors, which is a pilot program to address inequities because these individuals have strong and deep connections to historically underrepresented parts of Durham. These ambassadors will be compensated for their additional work throughout the planning process to identify and engage hard-to-reach populations by going out into their communities to gather input, energize their networks, and deliver participants to the planning process from the beginning to its conclusion.
Visit https://durhamnc.gov/3786/The-Durham-Comprehensive-Plan for more information or to submit a nomination form online by the June 28 deadline. For hard copy forms in both English and Spanish, contact Durham City-County Planning Department Senior Urban Designer Lisa Miller at Lisa.Miller@DurhamNC.gov or (919) 560-4137, ext. 28270, or Assistant Director Sara Young at Sara.Young@DurhamNC.gov or (919) 560-4137, ext. 28256.
About the Durham 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.