Process and Timeline

This will be a multi-year community engagement process with multiple opportunities to get involved and have your voice heard throughout each step of the process

COVID-19 Challenges  

Like so many other things in our lives, work on the Comprehensive Plan and the Transit Plan has been impacted and slowed by COVID-19. We recognize the importance of this work towards a more equitable Durham as even more essential now as COVID-19 has most heavily impacted our low wealth residents and residents of color because of systemic racism and inequity. We also know that because of how this pandemic is impacting residents, this is an even more challenging time to equitably engage our community.  

The process and timeline below is subject to change but we will update it frequently. Equitable Engagement is the foundation of developing Durham’s new comprehensive plan and we are trying out new strategies.  


Listening & Learning (November 2019– February 2020) 

The first phase of community engagement for a new Comprehensive Plan and new Transit Plan happened between November 2019 and February 2020.  We asked residents in large in-person sessions, small group discussions led by Engagement Ambassadors, and an online survey, “What does an ideal Durham look like to you?” and “What else is on your mind about Durham?” These two questions were designed to encourage a two-way dialogue between residents and staff – not just staff trying to get information from the community. We also wanted to make sure residents had opportunities to share their concerns, ideas, and questions about Durham – even if they were outside of the scope of these two specific plans. 

Community Goals (July 2020– March 2021) 

The way we’re starting to write a new comprehensive plan is to get your feedback on what Durham’s future goals should be. These goals will guide how the plan is written and guide decisions for new development that is happening now.  

Future Phases of Comprehensive Plan Development  

Future Land Use Plan and Place types 

A new future land use plan will guide new development in accordance with the Community Goals and an overall growth management strategy for the City and County. The future land use plan will thoughtfully coordinate community goals, infrastructure constraints, transportation needs and new population and job growth. Key tasks could include: 

  • Prepare list of Place Types that include different descriptions of land use character, use mix, intensity and service demand
  • Develop a new growth management strategy (Urban Growth Area)
  • Create and map place type GIS layers 
  • Develop land use metrics (examples include: households in proximity to transit, jobs, community services, greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle miles traveled, and equity indicators that are physically measurable) 
  • Develop initial scenarios for key land use choices 

Equitable Development Framework, Infrastructure and Services

A framework for equitable development and public investment decisions in Durham. Tasks could include: 

  • Co-develop equity indicators (benchmarks and metrics for success defined by the community) 
  • Develop level of service standards for all services 
  • Inventory of infrastructure needs 
  • Develop and engage in participatory asset mapping via a digital platform 
  • Identify equity impact areas that can serve to inform the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) process and growth management framework 

Policy Development 

  • Process of writing policies that guide growth and development 

Implementation Strategies

  • Process of creating a plan to ensure the proactive implementation of the comprehensive plan policies


  • Process of adoption of the new Comprehensive Plan starting with a recommendation from the Planning Commission and official action by City Council and Board of County Commissioners