Durham Launches New Development Services Center

Author: Pete Sullivan, AICP, Development Coordination Supervisor, Durham Development Services Center The Durham City-County Development Services Center (DSC) opened on April 3, 2017, with a mission of streamlining Durham’s development review process and enhancing customer service. A joint initiative of the Planning, Inspections, and Public Works Department, the DSC is both a new physical space and reorganization of program activities and staff. The DSC is intended to be a “one-stop-shop,” providing 1) application intake for Planning, Inspections, and Public Works, 2) in-person customer service, and 3) quick turn-around for minor planning and building projects. Collectively, Durham’s development review process includes over seventy different permit and/or review types, spanning more than twenty City and County Departments. The rate and complexity of development in Durham has increased over time, giving rise to the concept of a more integrated service delivery model. While all City and County Departments do outstanding work in their program areas, the need to obtain approvals from multiple City and/or County Departments can lead to permitting delays and a frustrating customer experience. To address these compartmentalization issues, the DSC emphasizes customer service and procedural streamlining, better positioning the City and County to improve the predictability, timeliness, and quality of the development review process. Creation of the DSC was led by Patrick O. Young, AICP, who was recently named Director of the Durham City-County Planning Department. Mr. Young joined the department in 2008 as Assistant Director, and has helped advance the creation of affordable housing in Durham. He succeeds Steven L. Medlin, who retired after 30 years of service to the department. The DSC is located in the former lobby...

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wins APA’s 2016 Outstanding Planning Student Organization (PSO) Award

Congratulations to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a winner of the American Planning Association’s 2016 Outstanding (Planning Student Organization) PSO Award.  This award program provides a means for student groups to share their ideas, learn from one another, and receive recognition (and rewards!) for creative, successful activities. The student organization was selected for its impressive list of initiatives for its students.  First, the Carolina Planning Journal published a print volume in May 2015 around the theme of “Planning for the New Economy.” It also launched a new blog that features student, academic, and practitioner work called Carolina Angles.  Carolina Angles publishes twice per week and has already attracted a wide readership of almost 2,000 unique visitors.  Second, its inclusion group, Plan for All, hosted twelve events that engaged issues ranging from planning for LGBTQ folks, public engagement best practices, black planning history, hazard planning and equity, and more. The group hosted Durham Mayor Bill Bell for a conversation about race and poverty in September 2015. Plan for All members are also working with faculty to identify gaps in the curriculum relating to race, class, gender, and equity.  Third, its Career Development Committee coordinated a number of events and resources to assist students in finding jobs and internships in the field, such as resume workshops and mock interview events.  Lastly, its students organized a Fall Break Trip to Atlanta that connected Carolina Planning students with some of Atlanta’s most exciting planners such as planner Ryan Gravel, who dreamed up Atlanta’s Belt Line, Tim Keane, Atlanta’s Planning Commissioner, and Nedra Deadwyler, founder of Civil Bikes. Students will be honored...