DURHAM, N.C. – After three-and-a-half years of input from residents on how Durham grows and uses land in the future, a full draft of the new Comprehensive Plan is now ready for community input.
The Comprehensive Plan guides what can be built where in Durham. This includes what size and kind of homes can be built in areas of the city and county, where schools and businesses can be built, and where streets can run through properties. Since the current plan is 17 years old and Durham has seen tremendous change since its adoption in 2005, the Durham City-County Planning Department has noted that this change has benefited some residents while others have been negatively impacted.
“Durham looks the way it does now because the old plan guided how the city and county could grow and develop. In the past, government officials primarily wrote this plan without purposefully engaging people from all parts of our community. For this new plan, we worked intentionally to better connect with our residents and understand their needs – especially our residents of color – to help write a plan that is more equitable,” said Durham City-County Planning Director Sara Young. “This final phase of engagement is a chance to see all of the pieces pulled together into one document, to better understand how it all works together, and to celebrate what we have accomplished together.”
According to Young, this is also an opportunity for continued accountability. “We are looking to our community to help us ensure that the priorities we heard from them are reflected in the plan before it is finalized and sent to the Durham City Council and Durham County Board of Commissioners for their review and adoption later this year,” said Young. “We will also be sharing information on how our community members can continue to be involved as the public hearings and adoption process begins.”
Residents are invited to attend any of the following open house style in-person meetings or virtual sessions to review the full draft and share their feedback directly with Planning staff. Childcare for the in-person meetings will be provided by The Safety Nest, LLC as well as light snacks, masks, and hand sanitizer. Materials in both English and Spanish along with bilingual staff and/or simultaneous interpretation will be available at all of the meetings.
While registration is required for the virtual meetings, registration is requested for the in-person meetings to help Planning staff ensure enough food, printed materials, and staffing for childcare are provided. For the final meeting, Planning staff is partnering with the City’s Office on Youth to create a more youth- and family-friendly space and a celebration of the project that will be open to all.
Residents may also review the full draft of the new Comprehensive Plan on the ENGAGE Durham website and provide their feedback online by Monday, March 20. More details about this process and project timeline are also available on this website.
The first public hearing for the project will be before the Durham Planning Commission on Tuesday, February 28 beginning at 5:30 p.m. This meeting will be livestreamed on the City’s website; on the City’s YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages; and on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV through the free Boxcast app. This meeting will also be televised live on Durham Television Network (Spectrum channel 8, Frontier channel 70, and AT&T U-verse channel 99).
According to Young, the Durham Planning Commission will likely hold multiple hearings on the project before it is anticipated to come before the Durham City Council and the Durham County Board of Commissioners for a joint public hearing in late summer 2023.
To communicate directly with Planning staff about this process, residents are invited to send an email or call (919) 560-4137.
About the Durham City-County Planning Department
The Durham City-County Planning Department is the planning agency for the City and County of Durham. Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the department helps to ensure that the city has connected, engaged, and diverse communities by enhancing housing quality and affordability for Durham residents. For more information about common topics involved with the planning process, visit the City’s website.