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. 

  1. Self-help research tools 
  2. Ask a property, zoning, or application question

Affordable Housing Bonus

The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) allows for additional dwelling units in exchange for providing affordable housing dwelling units as defined in the UDO. The requirements for this bonus are found within Section 6.6, Affordable Housing Bonus. Once a Site Plan or Plat is approved under this program, monitoring and compliance is then performed by the City’s Community Development Department (CDD) through the adopted compliance rules and procedures. For more information about the administration of UDO Section 6.6, please contact the DSC. For more information regarding compliance rules and procedures, please contact Community Development.

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.

Convenience Store
Food Truck
Salon, Barber, and Nail Salon
Vehicle Sales
Vehicle Services

Outdoor Sales Information

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 

Healthy Homes and Lead Abatement

An external grant program for qualifying households is available for lead abatement and training through the Partnership Effort for the Advancement of Children's Health (PEACH). 

Land Disturbance on Residential Property

Are you moving dirt? Any land disturbing activity of more than 12,000 square feet requires a Land Disturbance Permit, even for residential Building Permit projects. This is handled separately through Durham County's Stormwater and Erosion Control office.

Land Disturbance Electronic plans submittal portal
Fee schedule
Fee payment portal

Plot Plan Generator

A plot plan - also referred to as a plot map - is required with all residential building permits. A plot plan can be produced by a licensed surveyor, or, applicants can choose generate one on their own. Unfortunately City and County staff are not able to assist in the preparations of plot plans on behalf of customers.
Generate a Plot Plan using Durham Maps 
City-County Inspections requirements for plot plans

Application forms, zoning letters, and pre-application meetings with staff

Visit this page if you know which permit or approval you need. You can also request formal verification letters and schedule pre-application meetings with staff (see Early Assistance tab group).   

Applications, forms, online submittal, fee payment, and inspections

A complete application form is one step of a six-step application submittal process. The application process is all digital and paper-free. Please do not deliver materials via mail as these items will not be processed or returned. Use the blue button immediately below to launch the application guide after completing an application form and reviewing the submittal checklist. For Building Permits and Inspections application submittal, payment, and questions visit the Inspections site.

Launch application guide_250

Development regulations

Review building, zoning, infrastructure, or other regulations that may apply to a property, activity, or construction type.

Interactive maps and current project submittals

Review list of recent development application submttals; browse development activity by map; research area-wide or site-specific property, zoning, and environmental data using GIS.

Records requests

Browse development activity by map, access data sets, or request land development records.