TCC Coffee Chat with City of Durham Summary - 06.15.16

The Triangle Community Coalition had another successful Coffee Chat with the City of Durham Elected Officials and Staff on June 16, 2016. 

Joining our members in an informal chat were Mayor Bill Bell, Councilors Eddie David, Cora Cole-McFadden, Don Moffitt, and Steve Schewel.  Staff included, City Manager Tom Bonfield, Deputy City Managers Keith Chadwell, Wanda Page and Bo Ferguson, Department of Economic and Workforce Development Grace Dzidzrenyo and Esther Coleman, City/County Planning Department Patrick Young, and Senior Economic Dev. Coordinator Reggie Jones.

We provided the City of Durham with a better perspective of the Triangle Community Coalition's goal to
be a proactive partner in growth and land use issues and to work with senior staff and elected officials to develop policies, regulations, and procedures to encourage economic development, produce predictable (yet flexible) outcomes for all stakeholders, and protect the community's interests.

The City appreciated the TCC’s ability to offer objective facts and information in efforts to improve public policy debates and create effective working relationships between the business community and local government.  We had some great interaction with the TCC membership in attendance and had opportunity to talk about the following:

·         Cora Cole-McFadden – Durham City Council

The Triangle Community Coalition had another successful Coffee Chat with the City of Durham Elected Officials and Staff on June 16, 2016. 

Joining our members in an informal chat were Mayor Bill Bell, Councilors Eddie David, Cora Cole-McFadden, Don Moffitt, and Steve Schewel.  Staff included, City Manager Tom Bonfield, Deputy City Managers Keith Chadwell, Wanda Page and Bo Ferguson, Department of Economic and Workforce Development Grace Dzidzrenyo and Esther Coleman, City/County Planning Department Patrick Young, and Senior Economic Dev. Coordinator Reggie Jones.

We provided the City of Durham with a better perspective of the Triangle Community Coalition's goal to be a proactive partner in growth and land use issues and to work with senior staff and elected officials to develop policies, regulations, and procedures to encourage economic development, produce predictable (yet flexible) outcomes for all stakeholders, and protect the community's interests.

The City appreciated the TCC’s ability to offer objective facts and information in efforts to improve public policy debates and create effective working relationships between the business community and local government.  We had some great interaction with the TCC membership in attendance and had opportunity to talk about the following:

·         Cora Cole-McFadden – Durham City Council

o    Attracting people and businesses is a priority for the City

o    Challenges are transportation/utility capacity/watershed regulations/competition in the region for relocating companies/affordable housing

·         Eddie Davis – Durham City Council

o    Would like the development community to look at other areas of Durham – Fayetteville Street and Alston Avenue for more growth

o    Acknowledges that the south of Durham is expanding and good things are happening

·         Tom Bonfield – City Manager

o    Last year the City broke its all-time record for building permits

o    Infrastructure is a challenge

o    The City is becoming tighter for business incentives

§  City is more likely to partner for parking or affordable housing

§  Density bonus – staff have been working on creating more value to use this option

·         Pat Young – City/County Planning

o    Focused on improving and consolidating customer service and intake functions for development services, Customer Service Center much like Raleigh.

o    Currently in the proposed budget to create a one-stop-shop focusing on helping customers through the development processes and managing internal communications

§  Looked at best practices across the region and reached out Charlotte as well

§  If budget is approved by Council, implementation will be April 2017

§  5 new positions for customer service and intake

§  Will offer more pre-submittal and resubmittal meeting slots with staff

·         Don Moffitt (Durham City Council) asked Pat what developers could do to expedite the process.

o    Increase the quality and completeness of submittals

o    The new intake process should make this better by more pre-submittal meetings and more communication

·         Tom Johnson – Developing good checklists that applies to more specific projects would be very helpful

·         Sara Young – On Transit - Light rail line will have 11 stations in Durham

o    The city is wanting to put zoning in place in transit areas to include more mixed-use and pedestrian oriented development.

o    Until the UDO is updated, there’s a limbo period where council will be reluctant to vote on zonings in these areas.

o    Monday’s Council meeting will prioritize these density areas (5 of them)

·         Mayor Bill Bell – City is struggling to find a toolbox for developers to use for affordable housing

o    It was mentioned that design standards should be flexible to help with costs

·         City Downtown is currently under parked right now, and projects seeking P3/incentive should include additional parking and/or affordable housing components

·         City Staffing:

o    Planning is at full staff

o    Engineering is short but recruiting now

o    Inspections is back at full staff

§  Lost 4 state level certified inspectors to other municipalities in the last year

§  Brought back a few retireeso    Attracting people and businesses is a priority for the City

o    Challenges are transportation/utility capacity/watershed regulations/competition in the region for relocating companies/affordable housing

·         Eddie Davis – Durham City Council

o    Would like the development community to look at other areas of Durham – Fayetteville Street and Alston Avenue for more growth

o    Acknowledges that the south of Durham is expanding and good things are happening

·         Tom Bonfield – City Manager

o    Last year the City broke its all-time record for building permits

o    Infrastructure is a challenge

o    The City is becoming tighter for business incentives

§  City is more likely to partner for parking or affordable housing

§  Density bonus – staff have been working on creating more value to use this option

·         Pat Young – City/County Planning

o    Focused on improving and consolidating customer service and intake functions for development services, Customer Service Center much like Raleigh.

o    Currently in the proposed budget to create a one-stop-shop focusing on helping customers through the development processes and managing internal communications

§  Looked at best practices across the region and reached out Charlotte as well

§  If budget is approved by Council, implementation will be April 2017

§  5 new positions for customer service and intake

§  Will offer more pre-submittal and resubmittal meeting slots with staff



·         Don Moffitt (Durham City Council) asked Pat what developers could do to expedite the process.

o    Increase the quality and completeness of submittals

o    The new intake process should make this better by more pre-submittal meetings and more communication

·         Tom Johnson – Developing good checklists that applies to more specific projects would be very helpful

·         Sara Young – On Transit - Light rail line will have 11 stations in Durham

o    The city is wanting to put zoning in place in transit areas to include more mixed-use and pedestrian oriented development.

o    Until the UDO is updated, there’s a limbo period where council will be reluctant to vote on zonings in these areas.

o    Monday’s Council meeting will prioritize these density areas (5 of them)

·         Mayor Bill Bell – City is struggling to find a toolbox for developers to use for affordable housing

o    It was mentioned that design standards should be flexible to help with costs

·         City Downtown is currently under parked right now, and projects seeking P3/incentive should include additional parking and/or affordable housing components

·         City Staffing:

o    Planning is at full staff

o    Engineering is short but recruiting now

o    Inspections is back at full staff

§  Lost 4 state level certified inspectors to other municipalities in the last year

§  Brought back a few retirees