Property and zoning research and small business start-up guides
There are several ways to get help navigating the permit process. Please select one of the DSC's self-help resources or contact staff to request further guidance related to one of our information products or applications.
The knowledge base is a searchable database of articles about the development process. Topics include frequently asked questions about permitting requirements and development regulations.
Business Startup Roadmaps
Developed in partnership with Durham’s Office and Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), state agencies, and professional associations, this collection of nine small business guides provides a comprehensive overview of the regulatory process, from registering a business name to grand opening. Additional background is here.
Outdoor sales is a broad category of commercial activities that include garage or yard sales, food trucks, pushcarts, and stands with tables and/or tents. Some outdoor sales are allowed in the public right-of-way, and others on private property. Each of these types of outdoor sales has its own set of rules. Outdoor Sales Information Información de Ventas al Aire Libre
2019 Expanding Housing Choices initiative
In 2019 Durham implemented the Expanding Housing Choices Initiative, a result of many of months of community engagement intended to increase the range of residential housing options and housing affordability in Durham, primarily within urban neighborhoods. EHC handout Overview of EHC initiative
Customer service staff are available to answer general property, zoning, and application inquiries and provide pre-application guidance. Please review customer service pre-application guidelines below before contacting DSC by phone, email, or in person.
Our goal is to answer general inquiries within 48 hours.
If emailing us:
Pose the question in the body of the email message.
Email attachments cannot be opened or viewed to fulfill an inquiry due to security reasons.
Please include your name, email address, property address, and clearly describe the question.
If calling and leaving a voice mail message, please include your name, email address (please spell it), property address, and clearly describe the question.
In answering general inquiries staff can identify zoning and development regulations that apply to a property, land use type, or housing type, and identify required approvals and application processes.
Staff are not available to assist with project design or open attachments to evaluate drawings or sketches of proposed projects.
The role of customer service staff is to identify applicable Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) regulations. Staff are not available to speculate as to the likelihood of whether a development application or permit would be approved.
Customer service inquiry responses are informational and non-binding.