Innovation and Resilience are Winston-Salem's Heritage


An article [pdf/796kb/4p] chronicling Winston-Salem's challenges from the mid 1700s to today.  (posted 10/23/2017)

Urban Agriculture in Winston-Salem

Contact (posted 3/9/2015)

Legacy 2030, the comprehensive plan for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, recommends encouraging healthy food production in urban areas as well as in rural areas.  It also calls for the removal of barriers to using urban land and buildings for various forms of urban agriculture production.  On May 4, 2015, the Winston-Salem City Council adopted the Urban Agriculture Ordinance to encourage urban food production in areas throughout the City.

To aid citizens in understanding this new ordinance and its application, the Urban Agriculture Toolkit [pdf/874kb/2p] was developed by Planning and Development Services staff. This document provides information on the process for obtaining a special use permit, garden examples and resources, and tips for starting a community garden. This document is available online, and print copies are available at the Planning and Development Services Office at 100 E. First Street in Winston-Salem. 

Cover of multifamily housing presentationMultifamily Housing: New Trends and Opportunities

By Marco Andrade (posted 7/22/2015)

View slideshow: Multifamily Housing: New Trends and Opportunities [pdf/12mb/64p]This presentation is geared towards architects and developers and includes tips for location, design, and development approval.

See also below narrated YouTube video of the same presentation.

If you would like Planning staff to give a presentation on this topic to your group or organization, contact Kirk Ericson at 747-7045 or .

update: 8/18/2015

Parking Regulation Revisions — Adopted

By Steve Smotherman (posted 11/4/2015)

Revised parking regulations developed in response to Legacy 2030 recommendations were adopted by the Winston-Salem City Council on September 8, 2015, and by the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on October 12, 2015. Major ordinance revisions address the construction of cross-access drives and a pedestrian walkway from the street to business entrances along designated collector and thoroughfare streets; require additional parking lot landscaping for uses that exceed 175% of the minimum parking requirement and for retrofits of existing developments; and introduce bicycle parking requirements for selected land uses. 

A brief overview of the revised ordinance proposed revisions, the former Unified Development Ordinance parking regulations, and a Powerpoint presentation discussing the revised ordinance are available below.

View Overview of Parking Revisions [pdf/250kb/3p]

View UDO 261 Ordinance Amendment [pdf/915kb/50p]

View Proposed Parking Regulation Presentation (slide show) [pdf/4mb/38p]

Contact Steve Smotherman at or (336) 747-7066 if you have any inquiries.

area plan booklet coverArea Plan Trends

By Steve Smotherman (posted 8/7/2014)

More than 60% of Forsyth County’s population growth of 55,000 people between 2000 and 2010 occurred in four planning areas south of Interstate 40. All planning areas of Forsyth County have become more diverse with African-Americans moving outward to the Suburban Ring. Winston-Salem and the interior of Forsyth County are becoming younger while all of the Perimeter Communities such as Clemmons, Kernersville, and Rural Hall are becoming older. The percentage of high school graduates increased by 7 percentage points between 2000 and 2012 to 85 percent while college graduates increased by 9 percentage points to nearly 40 percent.

Dividing U.S. Census data by established planning area boundaries allows, for the first time, comparisons to be made within and between individual planning areas over a 10- to 12-year period. Indicators that have been investigated include population change, diversity composition, age and gender distribution, household income, poverty levels, type of residences (e.g., single family, townhome, multifamily), housing occupancy and educational attainment. Close analysis of these statistics gives for the first time a comprehensive picture of trends within the county of where neighborhoods are increasing or decreasing in population, racial composition, income, housing mix, etc.

View the Area Plan Trends report [pdf/1.2mb/16p]. Contact Steve Smotherman at or (336) 747-7066 if you have any inquiries.

trends report cover2013 Forsyth County Trends Report

By Steve Smotherman (posted 8/7/2014)

Did you know that 24,000 people move into and out of Forsyth County each year? The 2013 Forsyth County Trends not only tells how many people migrate to and from Forsyth County, but where people are coming from and where people are moving to. New to the 2013 Forsyth County Trends report are population trends for the Piedmont Triad region, transportation trends, economic trends, nonresidential and residential construction trends and health trends that provide empirical data to support ideas stated in The Legacy 2030 Update. The report is 25 percent shorter this year as it minimizes the replication of Forsyth County information found in other local sources.

View the 2013 Forsyth County Trends report [pdf/2mb/53p]. Contact Steve Smotherman at or (336) 747-7066 if you have any inquiries.

Public Art - Planning and Opportunities for the City of Arts and Innovation

By Kelly Bennett (posted 6/27/2014)

Public Art Report

Public art on the scale expected from a city of arts and innovation doesn't just happen. It takes vision, partnerships, and organization. Many cities accomplish this through a public art commission and master plan. This may be the next logical step for Winston-Salem as well. The chief benefit of a public art master plan would be that it can find and create opportunities for public art, partnering artists, ideas, and places into a more beautiful, thoughtful, and innovative public realm. In a city with so many artists, arts organizations, and universities, there are many opportunities for public art that are being missed. "Public Art - Planning and Opportunities for the City of Arts and Innovation" [pdf/6mb/30p] examines the state of public art in Winston-Salem, how it's handled by other cities, and examples from around the world that show public art's potential. It is meant as a conversation starter and a way to view what the future of public art can look like here.

New Regulations for Transmission Towers

By Kirk Ericson (posted 6/18/2014)

The City of Winston-Salem recently adopted new regulations for transmission towers (cell towers). These regulations require proposed cell towers in residential areas be reviewed through the City Council special use permit process, which includes a public hearing with sworn testimony. The City Attorney's office created a slideshow [pdf/2.1mb/25p] that gives more detail about this public hearing process for interested citizens and applicants. It includes information on who has standing to speak on a cell tower request and what discussion topics are permitted testimony. A two-page handout [pdf/500kb/2p] that summarizes tower regulations and the tower review process in Winston-Salem is also available.

Forsyth County New Central Library

By Marco Andrade (posted 8/22/2012)

Planning Staff Siting and Design Analysis [pdf/11.2mb/51p]

Planning staff assisted county officials in gathering input on the new library and its features. Staff facilitated a number of public meetings to find out what citizens want to see in the new Central Library. Many ideas were presented about location and design, technology, community gathering places, and type of activities and services to be offered. One of the main questions is whether to renovate the existing building or build a new one, and, if putting up a new building, where should it be placed? In trying to answer that question, county officials requested a comparison study between two county-owned sites, the current Central Library and the Sheriff's Office sites.

Please view the PowerPoint presentation, Planning Staff Siting and Design Analysis [pdf/11.2mb/51p], highlighting the pros and cons of each site. This analysis was presented to a number of groups, including the Forsyth County Library Board of Directors, Centenary Methodist Church Board of Directors, and the Community Appearance Commission.

Western Rural Study

By Kirk Ericson (posted 4/19/2011)

In response to concerns about the potential loss of rural character in the western rural area of Forsyth County, planning staff undertook a study of this area in the fall of 2010. The Legacy Growth Management Plan recognizes the rural character of this area, which is outside of municipal boundaries, west of the Muddy Creek Basin and not easily served by gravity sewer, by designating it GMA 5.

GIS filter mapping analysis was used to determine the future development potential of the western rural area. Land with development limitations such as steep slopes, poor soils, water features, and existing development was mapped and separated from the remaining developable land. Based on this analysis, only 26% of the area could be easily developed in the future.

Through collaboration with the staffs of the City-County Utilities Commission and the Forsyth County Health Department it was determined that the western rural area could not be efficiently served by gravity sewer, and private sewer would be necessary to support suburban development here.

The ultimate conclusion of the western rural analysis was that no additional regulations are needed beyond the existing Growth Management Plan to maintain the current rural character of the area. Please take a moment to look at Western Rural Study presentation [pdf/1.4mb/29p].

Finding Suitable Industrial Park Sites in Forsyth County

By Steve Smotherman (posted 5/22/2009)

Potential new Business/Industrial Park Sites of 100 acres or more are quickly becoming an endangered species in Forsyth County. Good Business/Industrial Park sites are necessary to be competitive with other communities for large Economic Development projects like the Dell manufacturing facility near Union Cross.

There are just 15 good sites identified presently in all of Forsyth County. Some previously identified sites have already been developed residentially and, without protection, more of these rare sites could be lost to suburban residential development.

Sites must be sifted through several factors before declaring it a prime Business/Industrial Park location including: proximity to interstate highways, adequate water supplies and sufficient wastewater treatment capacities, public regulations (e.g. zoning and watershed requirements), and the availability of the site to be purchased. 

View the PowerPoint slide show [pdf/5.84mb/58p] prepared for Winston-Salem Business, Inc. indicating the advantages and limitations of Forsyth County in identifying and developing future Business/Industrial Parks (NOTE: This is a large file and may take time to load).

Revised 10/23/2016

Notify me of page changes

Receive E-Mail Notification When New Information is Posted on this Page
As a member, enjoy the benefits of MyCityofWS, including your choice of newsletters, and notifications about events and site updates. Login and Manage Your Subscriptions Now.