EngageDurham | Winter Newsletter

EngageDurham - Comprehensive Plan

Quarterly Newsletter


Welcome to the first edition of the Comprehensive Plan Quarterly update!  We want to thank all of our departmental and community partners that have collaborated on this project so far; we could not do this without you!  This newsletter will serve as a way to keep you updated on the work that is already happening – and a preview of the work to come.  Our hope is that you read information about the progress of the plan and it spurs ideas, opportunities for collaboration, and additional insights to make this a truly Comprehensive Plan.

Connect with the Project Team

  • Lisa Miller, Senior Planner
  • Alexander Cahill, Senior Planner
  • Kayla Seibel, Senior Planner
  • Michael Stock, Senior Planner
  • Brooke Ganser, Planner
  • Carl Kolosna, Senior Planner
  • Erin Parish, Design & Performance Strategist
  • Scott Whiteman, Planning Manager
  • Sara Young, Assistant Planning Director
  • Pat Young, Planning Director

What is a Comprehensive Plan

A Comprehensive Plan is the future vision for a community shown in written recommendations and maps. The maps in the plan show where houses, businesses, shopping centers, parks, factories, and more are desired. The plan guides decisions by local government officials about where and how new and re-development happens. The plan also suggests how tax dollars are spent for improvements in transportation, water and sewer lines, and more in support of new and re-development.

What’s Next?

The Project Team has been mapping out deliverables, project process, the timeline for what our partners can expect.

We’re currently working towards the first deliverable for the plan document, a set of community goals to create the framework the Plan and what it hopes to accomplish for the future of Durham. We look forward to sharing this information with y’all throughout the project.

Welcome from the Director…

Welcome to our first edition of the Comp Plan Quarterly – a quarterly summary of the progress we’re making in updating the City and County’s long-term vision plan for community growth through 2050!

Since the adoption of the existing Comprehensive Land Use Plan (or “Comp Plan”) in 2005, Durham County has added approximately 49,000 new jobs and 57,000 new residents. Over the next decade, its projected we will see an additional 19,000 jobs and 43,000 new residents. While these new neighbors and economic opportunities enrich our community, they also present challenges in terms of keeping up with needed services, such as City streets, water and sewer pipes and public safety services. The Comp Plan intends to provide a “road map” for how we can continue to grow while keeping up our excellent City and County services and infrastructure and without damaging the quality of life for existing residents.

Durham is changing and it is critical that our community has a clear land use policy for the future. This policy will only be successful for all if it is crafted from the communities we serve.

Since this new plan is to become our collective guide, it is absolutely necessary that we have community input from every segment of Durham. We see you, our fellow City and County departments, as key partners, and want to ensure your voice and expertise is captured in this process. Your help, input and insights will ensure that the Comp Plan aligns with and supports your Departments’ goals and objectives over the coming years.

Big thanks to each you for the time and energy that you have put into the equitable engagement that has gone into informing this plan so far, and the myriad of other ways your departments have shown clear leadership on creating a plan that works for all.

Patrick Young

-Pat Young, AICP
Durham City/County Planning Director

Listening & Learning Sessions

On November 14, 16, 17, 18 and 19, over 375 community members attended Listening and Learning Workshops held in various locations throughout Durham. This was the first part of the ENGAGEDurham process to update the Comprehensive Plan and Durham County Transit Plan.  It was an opportunity for people to talk about what matters to them in the community – and to think about what they hope Durham will be like in the future.

At the end of each workshop, Staff asked participants to fill out an exit questionnaire that included basic demographic questions. This information has shaped our work with Engagement Ambassadors –community members who are paid a stipend to host mini-Listening and Learning sessions with underrepresented groups in the community. Approximately 40 ambassadors were trained and are working towards hosting 80 sessions with 6-8 participants each. This is an important part of our work toward equitable engagement and making sure all voices in Durham are heard.

Hosting five public meetings around Durham County within six days was a huge undertaking that could not have been done without the help and support of both Durham City & County staff. Staff from from General Services, Neighborhood Improvement Services, Audit Services, Transportation, Community Development, Budget, Fire, Durham Public Schools, GoTriangle, Durham-Chapel-Hill Metropolitant Planning Organization, Office of Economic and Workforce Development,  and so many others volunteered their time after hours to make these meetings a reality. We really appreciate you!

Departmental Spotlight – City/County Emergency Communications

The Project Team has been meeting with City and County departments that could potentially be impacted by either the new Comprehensive Plan or by new development in general.  In our Departmental Meetings, we are asking “what do you want other departments to know about you?”  This is a chance to share your message and build greater compassion and understanding for the hard work we all do to serve Durham.  The very first department we met with was Durham Emergency Communications, which you may know as City & County E911.

The Project Team learned that the naming of new streets can impact service delivery in Emergency Communications.  We heard one challenge they face is when construction activity begins before streets are finalized, it may be harder for first-responders to identify where an injured individual may be located, and may make it harder for dispatch to find the best route to get public safety to them.

And of course, we learned that E911 is a 24 hour, 7 day a week agency that never sleeps!  This means that staff are bound to their desks and can’t always participate in City/County events, training, or functions.

Staff Technical Team: So Many Plans!

The third Staff Technical Team was held on January 17th, 2020. The Staff Technical Team is composed of City & County Departments, along with Durham Public Schools. The charge of this group is to collaborate on the technical aspects of the Comprehensive Plan.

In this meeting we talked about all the plans we have in our respective city and county departments—departmental plans, strategic plans, special topic plans, work plans—so many plans! Together we gained a few key insights:

  • Many of the plans haven’t been implemented because they’re not tied to funding
  • Many of the plans are old and there’s no mechanism for sunsetting outdated plans
  • We need to coordinate so our plans don’t contradict or work against each other

Looking ahead, the Staff Technical Team will represent each department’s interest in technical aspects of the Comprehensive Plan throughout the life of the project.

ENGAGEDurham is an opportunity for everyone to help shape the future of our community.

City-County Planning

City-County Planning Department
101 City Hall Plaza
Durham, NC 27701

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