The Planning and Development Department provides a wide variety of technical assistance to member local governments.  The Department’s work falls within the following six program areas:

  • Planning Assistance
  • Economic Development
  • Transportation Planning
  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  • Small Business Loans - Region D Development Corporation
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – Mapping


Planning Assistance typically consists of development of land-use plans, comprehensive plans, recreation plans, and revisions to local development ordinances.  Staff also works on regional plans related to natural resources and infrastructure

Economic Development efforts focus on grant writing and grant administration.  Common funding sources include the Appalachian Regional Commission, the US Economic Development Administration, USDA Rural Development, NC Department of Commerce, GoldenLEAF Foundation, and the NC Rural Economic Development Center.  The Planning and Development Department also develops a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the region on a five-year cycle.

Transportation Planning is provided through operation of the High Country Rural Transportation Planning Organization (RPO).  The High Country RPO provides a forum for local officials to develop plans and projects in conjunction with the NC Department of Transportation.

High Country Council of Governments (HCCOG) assists our local governments by helping to identify and address community development needs in our seven-county region.

CDBG assistance focuses on grant writing and grant administration for CDBG-Infrastructure projects from NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources and CDBG-Economic Development Projects through the NC Department of Commerce.

The Region D Development Corporation is certified by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide SBA 504 loans to eligible small businesses.  The Development Corporation is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the seven County Commission boards.

The High Country COG’s GIS program is operated through contracts with member local governments.  Typical services provided include water and sewer system mapping, custom mapping, and data analysis.

High Country Available Properties Web App

The High Country Available Properties Web App is an interactive tool designed to provide a one-stop resource for information on available buildings or sites in the High Country region of western North Carolina, which is comprised of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey counties. In addition to detailed information on each property, the app also contains layers for tax parcels, utilities, traffic counts, zoning, broadband, flood zones, and more. Please click here or on the image to access the Web App.