Plan Submission Overview

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option


  • 201 East Main St, Fifth Floor, Durham, NC  27701, 919-560-0735


  • Phone:  919-560-0735                     E-Mail:
  • Fax:      919-560-0740                    

Issue Land-Disturbing Permits

  1. A land-disturbing permit is required on any privately funded, non-agricultural project with a disturbed area greater than 12,000 sq. ft.
  2. A sedimentation and erosion control plan is required when the disturbed area exceeds 20,000 sq. ft. except in certain water quality areas, where the plan requirement starts at 12,000 sq. ft.
  3. A Surety is required when the disturbed area exceeds 5 acres.



Applicants should remember that S & E plans must comply with the requirements of the NCDEMLR NPDES NCG01 Permit effective April 1, 2019. Plans not meeting the requirements, will not have a valid NPDES Permit. Enforcement is the responsibility of the NCDEQ Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources. For further information visit:

A complete plan submittal has:

  1. Two (2) copies of the sedimentation and erosion control plan, based on the latest requirements of the Durham City/County Ordinance, including details and calculations, and signed/sealed plan submittal checklist. We only require submission of those plan sheets directly related to sediment and erosion control.
  2. One (1) copy of construction drawings.  This will be used to better inform erosion control plan reviews as well as inspections in the field.  It is recommended that this be submitted in electronic format (CD, or USB, for example). 
  3. A Financial Responsibility/Ownership Form (FRO) properly executed and notarized along with documentation supporting signatory authority(Corporate Resolution).
  4. The Plan Review Fee in accordance with the fee schedule (Do not round this to the nearest acre).


Upon plan approval, a letter will be sent to the financially responsible party as identified within the FRO. A copy will also go to the designer.  This letter will:

  1. Ensure the validity of the address.
  2. Provide the financially responsible party with any approval stipulations or conditions.
  3. Inform the financially responsible party of remaining actions to be completed to obtain a land-disturbing permit.


Deficiencies often noted on disapproved plans are:
  1. Grading outside of the owner’s property line.  Offsite grading requires written authorization from the adjoining property owner.
  2.  Inadequate groundcover information.
    1.  Re-vegetation is the most effective way of controlling erosion and must be accomplished as per Section 12.10.4(B) of the Durham City/County UDO upon completion of any phase of grading..
    2. Seasonal seeding schedules for both temporary and permanent ground cover are required and must include rates for seed, mulch and fertilizer.
  3. Lack of some or all construction details.  Details must be provided for all proposed measures.
    1. Haybales, strawbales or burlap silt fence is not allowed.
    2. Silt fence placement on wooden posts is not allowed.
    3. Combination Tree/Silt fence is not allowed.
    4. Sericea Lespedeza as a ground cover is not allowed.
  4. Lack of supporting calculations for sediment and erosion control measures such as basins, swales, velocity dissipators, etc.
  5. Inadequate or missing Construction Sequence.
    1. The sequence must be site specific.  Indicate when measures are to be installed and when they are to be removed.
  6. Stream crossings are not adequately addressed.
    1. Describe how they will be crossed during the construction activity clearing.
    2. How are pipes/culverts to be installed?
    3. Is a diversion and/or a temporary piped crossing necessary?
  7. Conceptual flaws.  The plan will not work.  The goal is to retain sediment on site through all phases of clearing to completion.  The plan must be able to be implemented.  Whenever possible, it is advantageous to divert offsite clear water away from the land disturbing activity.



A letter of disapproval listing all deficiencies will be sent to the financially responsible party as identified on the FRO.  A copy of the Disapproval Letter is also sent to the designer.  Re-submittals must be reviewed by the Sedimentation & Erosion Control staff within 15 calendar days of receipt, and a fee of 50% of the original plan review fee will be required.

To facilitate re-review, please cloud or highlight changes made to the plans and/or list corrective actions made in response to each item in the letter of disapproval.


In general, to obtain a land-disturbing permit the following items must be completed:

  1. An approved sedimentation and erosion control plan.
  2. A flat fee of $275.00 is required for areas of disturbance that are greater than 12,000 sq./ft., but less than an acre. Disturbances in excess of one acre and less than ten acres require a permit fee of $525.00 per disturbed acre (Do not round this to the nearest acre). Projects involving disturbances of 10 acres or more require a permit fee of $800 per disturbed acre.
  3. A Surety must be furnished if the disturbed area exceeds 5 acres. The Surety amount will is calculated at the rate of $4,000/disturbed acre.
  4. A Zoning Compliance Form must be received from the Durham Development Services Center. In order to request this form, complete this Due Diligence application, and submit it to the email address provided on the form. For the field labeled, Describe Proposed Business Activities (in the Business Information section), write, "Requesting Land Disturbance Zoning Compliance Letter.”
  5. Tree Protection Fence must be installed and inspected.


How best to track your project in our office:

All projects are assigned a job control number, which consists of four numerals, followed by a dash and two more numerals (XXXX-XX).

  1. Please refer to it in any written or verbal inquiries regarding your project.



Please remember that the sedimentation and erosion control plan and/or stormwater plan review process is separate from your subdivision and/or site plan review process.  The Planning Department does not forward plans to this office for sedimentation and erosion control plan reviews, so submittals must be made directly to us.  The plan review process may run concurrently with your planning review.   Any changes required by the planning process should be reflected on your erosion control and stormwater plans and should be resubmitted to this office as a plan addendum.