Who are We?

The Comprehensive Planning and Design (CPAD) section is involved in the implementation of Legacy 2030, Forsyth County's comprehensive plan. The work of CPAD focuses on area planning, Legacy-related text amendments, Legacy monitoring and maintenance, RUCA review, growth management, activity centers, design, downtown planning, and the identification and research of local development trends.

What are our Current Projects?

  • Legacy 2030 Comprehensive Plan
  • Area Plan Updates
  • Comprehensive parking requirements ordinance
  • Accessory dwellings ordinance revision
  • Multifamily trends analysis
  • Urban agriculture and local food initiatives
  • Downtown Planning
  • Design assistance to City and County departments, as requested
  • Economic development assistance
  • Public art master plan and commission
  • Library planning assistance
  • Environmental Reviews
  • Trends Report
  • Revitalizing Urban Commercial Areas (RUCA) assistance 

What are our Responsibilities?

Area Planning

Area Plans are documents prepared by the City-County Planning Board that analyze the existing characteristics, trends, problems and opportunities of specific areas of the city and county. From the analysis, recommendations are made for future land use, zoning changes, transportation, and public facility improvements. While Area Plans do not change the zoning of an area, they do serve as guides for the Planning Board and elected officials to use when making zoning or other planning decisions. All areas of the county are covered by adopted area plans based on policies of the 2001 Legacy plan. Each area plan will be updated to reflect the policies of the Legacy 2030 comprehensive plan. currently, the Tobaccoville, Southeast Winston-Salem, Walkertown, North Suburban, South Central Winston-Salem, southeast Forsyth County, North Central Winston-Salem, Southwest Suburban and East-Northeast Winston-Salem area plans have been updated to reflect these policies. The Southeast Suburban, Southwest Winston-Salem, and Rural Hall plans will be updated in the 2015-16 fiscal year. For more information, see the Area Plan section.

Legacy-Related Text Amendments

Legacy 2030, the adopted comprehensive plan for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County makes a variety of recommendations to promote quality growth and conserve our community’s cultural and environmental resources. While some Legacy recommendations are generalized, others are more specific with respect to the direct implementation of Legacy goals through development ordinance amendments. The CPAD work group’s role is to draft recommended text changes and oversee their adoption through a formalized public review process. Sample recent ordinance changes include revised subdivision street standards, mixed-use development standards, infill development standards, revisions to the Sign Ordinance, revisions to existing planned residential development standards, urban agriculture standards, and changes to current parking regulations.

Downtown Planning

Over the past several years, planning staff have been involved with the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership (DWSP) in revitalization efforts for downtown Winston-Salem. Since 1988, the downtown plans have been periodically updated to reflect trends and the evolution of new development. The City-County Planning Board and City Council adopted the Downtown Plan for Winston-Salem in 2002, and has adopted, updated and revised versions of the Plan in 2005 and 2007. The Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and city staff are continually working on implementation of the Plan. The Plan has helped in transforming downtown into a vibrant center of offices, commercial, restaurant, entertainment and urban residential activity. The 2013 Downtown Plan update was recently adopted.

Revitalizing Urban Commercial Areas (RUCA)

At the request of the City Council, Planning staff has looked at struggling urban commercial areas, also known as Revitalizing Urban Commercial Areas (RUCAs). Staff has prepared recommendations for public improvements, regulatory changes, and financial incentives. The City Council initially committed 1.5 million dollars for the improvement of these areas. These monies were focused on public and private site improvements. The city selected three areas for the first round of funding: Waughtown/Thomasville, Liberty Street, and Washington Park. A second round of funding has been made available to five more declining commercial areas. Additional RUCA funding was made available as part of the 2014 city bond package.

Trends Report

The Trends Report analyzes recent demographic, economic, and development trends in Forsyth County. Using a variety of national and local data sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management, the Trends Report provides information and insight into how Forsyth County is changing and what these trends may signal for Forsyth County’s future.

As Forsyth County continues to adapt to its changing economy, 2013 Forsyth County Trends Report [pdf/2mb/53p] is a straightforward and objective reference document that can be used by a variety of groups who have an interest in the past, present, and future of Forsyth County.

Urban Agriculture

In May 2015, Winston-Salem adopted regulations which allow agricultural in residential areas of the city. Urban agriculture is allowed with approval from the Board of Adjustment, following a public hearing where neighbors may comment on the proposed agricultural project. This ordinance promotes access to healthy local food while preserving the character of residential neighborhoods. CPAD is currently working on public outreach materials on urban agriculture.

Public Art

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County recently approved resolutions establishing a local public art commission. This commission will have six city representatives and three to five county representatives. The first meeting of the public art commission is expected to take place later in 2016.


Updated: 1/26/2016

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