Planning and Economic Development
The Planning and Economic Development Division is responsible for planning for future development and growth within the town and its extraterritorial jurisdiction, enforcing land development regulations, issuing permits, overseeing projects, providing staff support to town advisory boards, assigning addresses, creating and maintaining geographic information system (GIS) zoning and development databases and representing the town on regional planning committees.
The Planning and Economic Development Division is responsible for enforcing land development ordinances enacted by the Board of Commissioners. Below are links to additional information on other ordinances.
An ordinance regulating construction and certain other activities within floodplains is linked below.
Building permits are issued and inspections performed by the Orange County Building Inspections Division. Businesses moving into buildings that are not newly built should contact the Orange County Fire Marshal Division first. All commercial spaces must have a fire safety inspection, which also will determine if additional permits are needed. The following permits are issued by the town Planning and Economic Development Division:
- Certificate of Appropriateness — required for site changes or changes to the exterior of structures located in the Historic District Overlay Zone.
- Outdoor Seating Permit — required for businesses to provide seating on sidewalks and outdoor public spaces.
- Special Event Permit — required for certain events on public or private property.
- Zoning Compliance Permits — required for additions and new construction, most signs, changes of use and home occupations within the town and its extraterritorial jurisdiction. Some temporary signs do not require a permit (such as yard sale, political, real estate and window signs), but regulations still apply on the number, size, location and longevity.
Additional information for developers can be found in the plans and regulations section above.
The town generally does not construct new roads. However, it manages changes within the public right of way and has requirements for new road construction.
The Street Design Standards document linked below details how roads are designed, how they connect, and what improvements are required. This document also establishes standards for private streets, traffic calming and signage (including safety signage). The street specifications detail how roads are to be constructed, such as the depth of pavement, along with requirements and limitations for encroachments within the public right of way.
Additional information can be found in the Street Construction Standard Specifications within the town Code of Ordinances.
Driveway and utility cut permits
Driveway and utility cut permits are handled by the town's Public Works Division.
State rights of way
All work done within the right of way of state streets, including connecting town or private streets, requires approval from the N.C. Department of Transportation and must meet its requirements as well. These streets include:
- West Hill Avenue North and West Hill Avenue South
- Oakdale Drive
- Dimmocks Mill, Eno Mountain, Faucette Mill, Harper, Locust, Orange Grove (west of Churton Street), Revere, St. Mary's and Tuliptree roads
- Allison, Churton, Cornelius, King, Mayo, and Nash streets
- U.S. 70A and U.S. 70 East
- N.C. 86 South
Street Standards — amended Feb. 13, 2023
Addresses are assigned, verified and corrected by the Planning and Economic Development Division. Orange County's address database contains records maintained by the town. Additional information is available from the county Geographic Information Systems Division.
Addresses should be displayed with numerals at least 3 inches high on a contrasting background and should be clearly visible from the street day and night.
Five of the town's appointed boards are supported by Planning and Economic Development Division staff:
- Planning Board — enforces land development ordinances and plans for future development and growth.
- Board of Adjustment — rules on cases based on the Zoning Ordinance.
- Historic District Commission — rules on cases based on the Historic District Design Standards.
- Tourism Board — drives economic development by promoting travel, tourism and visitor services; preserving and enhancing the town's historic built and natural environment; and sponsoring programs and activities.
- Tourism Development Authority — promotes travel, tourism and conventions; sponsors tourism-related events; and finances tourism-related capital projects.
101 E. Orange St., Hillsborough, NC 27278
Offices are open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
It is recommended to request an appointment with a planner prior to coming to the office.
Planning and Economic Development Manager