Lightning Round Session I

APA North Carolina Chapter


Wednesday, September 27, 2017
2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. EDT

CM | 1.25

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40 Conversations About Durham’s Development Review Process (Pete Sullivan)

In April 2017, Durham opened a new Development Services Center (DSC) with the mission of improving the coordination, predictability, timeliness, and quality of the development review process. The DSC performs over 70 review processes involving over 20 City, County, and State departments, agencies, and advisory boards. While the new DSC is physically complete, the task of coordinating 40 development review work groups rolls on. This presentation explains how Durham’s DSC was assembled, and highlights lessons learned in creating a one-stop-shop. 

This presentation is a case study offering insights into the creation of a multi-departmental service center. It includes broad concepts and goals for improving customer service delivery, as well as specific recommendations for ensuring a successful multi-departmental merger. Attendees will hear insights that they may apply to their own agency’s customer service operations. 

The agenda for the presentation is as follows.

-Purpose of creating Durham’s Development Services Center

-Creating a new physical space 

-Technology improvements

-Operational improvements

-Procedural streamlining

-Memorandum of Understanding with Partner Work Groups 

(or, “How do we stay coordinated and know if we’re successful?”)  

-Lessons learned

Dark Skies, Bright Lights (David Henning)

More light is being produced by growing communities. As new land is developed there are additional

street lights and lit facades. As communities switch to energy efficient LEDs in their public lighting, they

find they can produce more light for less cost. Bright light can be a sign of an active nightlife and has been

heralded as a safety feature. A bright skyline can be something that differentiates, what is Rural, What is

Urban, and what falls in between.

Light can also be scattered into the atmosphere causing a glow that makes it harder to find a clear starry

sky. As it scatters into eyes it can actually decrease night vision which raises important safety concerns.

Certain wavelengths of light may feel harsh and cause disruptions to people’s sleep or to the environment.

Some communities view access to a starry sky as part of the character of their environment or their quality

of life.

As your community members decide whether they want to plan for lighting and their night sky, planners

will be asked to help write and enforce regulations that implement those intentions.

Within the context of a brief lightning round, participants will be exposed in quick succession to:

* The basic mechanism of light pollution;

* The Bortle Scale, used by amateur astronomers and science writers to describe degrees of light


* The concept of Color Temperature used by the lighting industry and many municipal codes;

* The American Medical Association’s guidance on street lighting; and, if time,

* A brief example of a civic event possible with a protected night sky.

The session is not a comprehensive deep dive, but a thorough introduction that will familiarize participants


with issues that may arise in their communities and the language they may see in the future.


"RENA" in Eastern North Carolina: The Resilience Evaluation and Needs Assessment Process (Monica Gregory)

Lightning Round session intended to expose audience to and inform planners about a resilience planning project being conducted with coastal communities. The planning project is an example of a process that can be used by local planners in their own communities to conduct resilience evaluations, create vulnerability maps, and identify local government and community needs to increase resilience to flooding and major storm events. We are currently working with the Towns of Duck, Edenton, Oriental, and Pine Knoll Shores.

By the end of this Lightning Round, planners will be exposed to a resilience planning process that can be replicated in their own communities through participatory mapping with staff, elected officials, and residents. This short presentation will outline the process used to create vulnerability maps for four Eastern North Carolina communities. The ultimate goal of the project is to identify "hot spots" where local government officials can focus adaptation and mitigation projects to increase their community's resilience to flooding, damaging winds, and other hazards. The resilience evaluation and needs assessment (RENA) process is intended to be used in coastal communities in North Carolina, but the process could be reframed and applied to non-coastal areas as well. 


Pete Sullivan, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

Pete Sullivan, AICP, is Manager of Durham's Development Services Center, in Durham, North Carolina. Pete’s team provides direct customer service and is dedicated to improving the timeliness, quality, and predictability of Durham’s development process. Pete’s professional planning work includes public and private sector experience in development ... Read More

David Henning

Confirmed Speaker

David Henning is a planner and lawyer serving as an Associate with Clarion’s Chapel Hill office. Most recently, David has worked on plans for Loudoun County, VA, Cary, NC, and Greenville, NC; and zoning ordinances in Apopka, FL, Prince George’s County, MD, and Richland County, SC. During his ... Read More

Monica Gregory

Confirmed Speaker

Monica Gregory is a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow based in Morehead City with the Division of Coastal Management (DCM), an agency that works in the 20 coastal counties under the Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA). Her work focuses on vulnerability assessments and community resilience. She received her M.P.A ... Read More

Contact Info

Benjamin Howell,