The Comprehensive Plan is now in the formal adoption processStaff is working to archive this website to document the engagement and planning process. Some information on this page may be out of date or reference a project phase that is now complete. For the most up-to-date information on the Comprehensive Plan, see the Adoption Process page 

To make the Community Goals and Objectives of the Comprehensive Plan a reality in Durham, we need to write recommendations on how to achieve them. Policy Working Groups are groups of residents and staff working together to come up with initial recommendations that could be included in the Comprehensive Plan. These initial policy recommendations will then be shared with the Durham community for input. After getting input from the community, these recommendations will be finalized as part of the final Comprehensive Plan that the City Council and Board of County Commissioners will consider for adoption in 2023.

The following policy working groups began work together in August of 2021 and completed their work in September 2022.


Policy recommendations are guidelines that help local government make decisions. The policies in the Comprehensive Plan will guide decisions or recommendations about development that are made by the Planning Commission, the City Council, and the Board of County Commissioners. The policies will also guide the Planning Department’s work program tasks and changes to the rules for development, like the Unified Development Ordinance. Policy recommendations could also result in City or County departments, beyond Planning, starting up a new program or initiative that supports the vision outlined in the Comprehensive Plan.

Staff has developed a series of questions to help guide the Policy Working Groups from the adopted Community Goals and Objectives to policy recommendation ideas. These questions will ask the groups to consider what each objective is trying to achieve, to envision how this might be possible in Durham, to work through what our constraints are related to achieving the objective, and to carefully consider how equity is impacted. The groups will use this process to create a list of discrete policy ideas for the goals and objectives. Staff will take this list and draft policy recommendations to share back with the group to ensure they are in alignment with the group’s perspectives and priorities before readying them for community engagement.

Policy Working Group Resources


To form the Policy Working Groups, Planning staff invited residents and staff to participate, including those who have been involved in the Engagement Ambassadors’ program, Outreach Team, Boards, Committees, Commissions Group, and Staff Technical and Engagement Teams.

Many groups, neighborhoods, and residents have shown interest in participating in the working groups. Unfortunately, we were unable to accommodate the number of participants necessary to include a representative from every group and neighborhood. However, we asked all participants to share information from their working group discussions with the organizations and neighborhoods they are a part of and bring any perspectives they heard from their fellow residents back into the discussion with the working group as.

In addition, the working groups were just the initial brainstorming step for policy ideas. In the past, this step has been done in isolation, by staff, after which draft policy recommendations would have been shared with the community for feedback. As we work towards improved community engagement, we understand that we need to bring more community perspectives into the beginning of the drafting process. These groups were our first attempt at doing so.

Notes and Agendas

Below you can find links to initial policy brainstorming by each policy working group that will be shared with residents throughout the community through engagement in Spring of 2022.

Note: the second Policy Working Group meeting occurred on October 27th. This meeting involved initial work to develop community agreements in coordination with the Office on Youth that are finalized and included in the November working notes.




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