Comprehensive Planning & Design

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:

  • Activity centers
  • Design
  • Downtown planning
  • Growth management
  • Identification and research of local development trends
  • Legacy monitoring and maintenance
  • Legacy-related text amendments
  • Public art
  • Small area planning

Current Projects

  • Corridor and Interchange Plans
  • Design assistance to City and County departments, as requested
  • Downtown planning
  • Economic development assistance
  • Environmental Reviews
  • Legacy 2030 Comprehensive Plan
  • Public Art Commission staffing
  • Quarterly Development Dashboard reports
  • Revitalizing Urban Commercial Areas (RUCA) assistance


Small Area Planning

Small 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. Types of small area plans include:

  • Corridor Plans
  • Legacy Area Plan Updates
  • Northern Beltway Interchange Plans
  • Strategic Area Plans

These plans make recommendations for future land use, zoning changes, transportation, and public facility improvements. While such plans do not change the zoning of an area, they 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 Legacy plan.

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:

  • Infill development standards
  • Mixed-use development standards
  • Parking regulation revisions
  • Revised subdivision street standards
  • Revisions to existing planned residential development standards
  • Revisions to the sign ordinance
  • Urban agriculture standards

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 most recent Downtown Plan update was adopted in 2013.

Community Appearance

The Community Character staff provides staff support to the joint City-County Community Appearance Commission (CAC) to facilitate the development and implementation of various commission initiatives pertaining to street corridor improvements, gateway treatments, the biennial CAC Awards Presentation, and revised Sign Ordinance Standards. The CAC also reviews and makes recommendations on various publicly funded developments and capital improvement projects.

Public Art

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County approved resolutions establishing the Public Art Commission. This Commission is composed of both city and county representatives. The Public Art Commission meets at 2 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month in the Stuart Municipal Building second floor conference room.