Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26

Thread: Overuse and Abuse of PUD?

  1. #1

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371

    Overuse and Abuse of PUD?

    While it was invented to address very large mixed-use projects, I have noticed over the years that many jurisdictions use PUDs for minor projects (recently I heard of a town using it for accessory apartments!) and for single use developments.

    Given the complexity of most PUD procedures this seems like a real abuse of the tool, and suggests to me that communities do not know how to introduce some flexibility into their regulations without making a huge production of it. So, I am looking for examples of the overuse and abuse of PUDs, as well as for any more theoretical thoughts about this particular planning tool.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve
    Posts
    3,387
    Are most of the municipalities that misuse or abuse PUD regulations without professional planning staff?
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    (edited)

    The City I used to work for is in the process of approving PUD zoning for an existing industrial user. The company wants to expand but can't meet the dimensional requirements of the underlying zoning district, and there is no hardship basis for a variance. They included four other parcels in their "district" in order to meet the minimum area requirements for PUDs, even though they don't control them and there are no plans to develop any kind of unified "district". Classic abuse of PUD and a classic end-around of the appeals process.

  4. #4

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    Thanks for the example, Chet.

    Many of the communities that abuse the PUD do not have a professional staff, but I think a majority of the cases I have seen were actually recommended by planners who were trying to solve a problem the quick and easy way.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 1997
    Location
    Clowns to the left, jokers to the right
    Posts
    1,438
    I've worked for two communities that had PUD's (we call 'em PD's) out the yin-yang. More than half of each town was a PD of some kind or another. Often it wasn't for a large-multi-use development. Instead it was just to tweak an existing district to accomodate something either the user or the city wanted out of the development.
    JOE ILIFF
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Debt is normal . . . Be weird!
    Dave Ramsey

    "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  6. #6

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468
    Until 1999, my employer was guilty of the PUD for every single project offense. At one point,. we had something like 295 planned unit development districts. Needless to say, administration was a nightmare-and for little real benefit from a planning standpoint.

    We basically canned them all when we re-wrote the Zoning Ordinance in '99.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    3,000
    Until I got here, the PUD was used as a way to spot zone, or rather contract zone. When working a PUD site, the board would "declare" what the underlaying zone should be--and then limit the types of uses. A major grocery store (OK, THE grocery store) is in a single family zone. The PUD case "declares" that the underlaying district is highway commercial. Development is limited to grocery stores. It sort of backfired when they wanted to install a drive up pharmacy...and had to go through a revised PUD plan to get it.

    While it should not be used for individual lots, I see some merit for areas as small as 5 acres sometimes.

  8. #8
    In my previous job we used them sparingly, and almost exclusively for major redevelopment areas or multi-family housing. In order to avoid the use of them on a small area as a way to get around trying to obtain a variance our zoning ordinance had “recommended minimum” setbacks which allowed the Plan Commission to reduce or increase the required setbacks in commercial districts. Businesses seemed to like it because it gave them the ability to expand if necessary and residents seemed to be ok with it because the commission could increase buffers between residential and commercial properties. However that community was completely built-out and some flexibility was necessary to accommodate any redevelopment. In a community with lots of undeveloped land recommended minimums probably wouldn’t be a great idea.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  9. #9
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    In a new discovered reality where it doesn't snow
    Posts
    13,834
    When I was in college we did a project on the local hospital that used PUD's to expand, it made it look bad, and there was no growth plan at that time. Now (partly thanks to my class mates) they have an "institunal overlay district" for the University and Hospital.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Posts
    7,660
    Blog entries
    1

    PUD's

    I've worked in jurisdictions that used PUD's for everything, from 1 acre industrial property to 300 acre residential single family (cookie cutter) housing, talk about headaches I remember one place I worked that had dozens of huge residential PUD's (each with hundreds of homes) and every time we had a proposed modification, we had to spend hours getting it in the correct format and spending huge amounts of administrative time. Not to mention those old PUD's that included what should have been private covenants (making us the enforcer of stupid internal rules...) Bad PUD's are the direct result of planners that have been poorly (or not at all) trained in their use (not to mention when they should be used). The ratio of bad PUD's to good PUD's that I've seen so far in my career is about 90:10.

    I agree with what others are saying, if you have an up to date code, there should be very limited use of the PUD, and only when it provides a significant benefit for the community. Oh, and jurisdictions without skilled staff and plenty of them should avoid these things completely if possible...
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  11. #11
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,594
    My TOWN NEXT DOOR has a fairly serious case of PUD abuse. it is basically used by the tract-home developers like KB homes to increase the level of density in their neighborhoods by reducing the lot sizes. Dispite the fact the TOWN's regulations for PUDs list allowing mixed-use & more creative development patterns as the primary reason for their existance. I bet PUDs account for more than half of their recent development. Bleeeh

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  12. #12
    We have virtually reached build-out so the PUDD (as they are known in Indiana) process has been very useful as we redevelop the city -- allowing certain flexibilities where they are warranted and assuring development issues (including uses) are addressed in detail. I would say we have done a lot of PUDDs but none that have been egregious.
    Je suis Charlie

  13. #13
    Cyburbian H's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2003
    Location
    MKS
    Posts
    2,847
    You should never abuse your PUD. Overuse? Maybe. Not abuse...never


    We called em PD's also. And they are just a way to get higher density.

    D: "What does RL-1 mean"?

    P: "One unit an acre, unless you do a PD and then you can get up to 5 units an acre".

    D: "So it basically means 5 du/ac"?

    P: [sigh]"yes"[/sigh] :rolleyes:


    Sidenote: we had an 'administrative determination' that there was no min. PD size.
    Last edited by giff57; 26 Aug 2004 at 9:27 AM.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Encroaching on something
    Posts
    2,727
    Some of the developers I know use the PUD to circumvent the regulations. It drives me nuts how they abuse the concept of the PUD and build crap.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian thinknik's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2004
    Location
    the yellow brick road
    Posts
    92
    Around here PUD's are treated like contracts for upzoning. When a land developer or expanding institution wants to do anything to bypass the requirements, out comes the PUD to the rescue. It wasn't until recently the City Council, who has to approve them, figured out it needed to question the wisdom of the PUD policy.
    So we have a lot of residual lame-o PUD's. More disturbing is that they are usually all mixed up in annexations and result in Comp Plan changes.

    Because they are created by contract, flexiblity to change them like zoning is gone.

    In the 90's government officials of Lake County, Florida finally figured out that they and their planning staff had given out so many PUD's they were going to go broke providing infrastucture to them. So they naturally fired their whole planning staff.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian GeoTech's avatar
    Registered
    May 2002
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    33

    PUD Tool Abuse

    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    While it was invented to address very large mixed-use projects, I have noticed over the years that many jurisdictions use PUDs for minor projects (recently I heard of a town using it for accessory apartments!) and for single use developments.

    Given the complexity of most PUD procedures this seems like a real abuse of the tool, and suggests to me that communities do not know how to introduce some flexibility into their regulations without making a huge production of it. So, I am looking for examples of the overuse and abuse of PUDs, as well as for any more theoretical thoughts about this particular planning tool.
    Our town has a Planned Unit Residential Development Zoning District (Floating Zone) that has been truly abused over the last twenty years. Of the eight PURD's that they have approved, none actually meet the requirements of the Code.

    We are currently rewriting the entire zoning code and will be removing this floating zone option and writing in more mixed use options in the actual base commercial zones and be adding a Traditional Neighborhood Districts option.

    I do think that there is a need for a PUD option in rapidly growing regions that are creating new neighborhoods (500-1,000 units over one hundred acres or more). It all comes down to the wording and design of the code and how it is enforced.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian H's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2003
    Location
    MKS
    Posts
    2,847
    Quote Originally posted by H
    Nut abuse...never
    OMG ...that was was to be "But" with a "B" not "Nut" with a "N"...the "B" and "N" are next to each other on the keybooard. ....it was not meant to be so foul... I apologize. Mod if you could edit or delete that, it might be a good idea, so it is not so blue. whoops.



    Mod note Giff57: Done
    Last edited by giff57; 26 Aug 2004 at 9:28 AM.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    5,506
    The City of Davis, CA, which is usually well-regarded in terms of planning is a freak for Planned Developments. Almost every development I worked on when I was there was a PD, even tiny little 4 unit projects. It's a highly regulatory town, so I don't think the PD was used as much for flexibility but rather for total control of everything... the City looks pretty nice though, and the larger PDs do mix uses pretty well.

  19. #19
         
    Registered
    Aug 2004
    Location
    City of Park Ridge, Illinois
    Posts
    15

    Pud Hah

    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    While it was invented to address very large mixed-use projects, I have noticed over the years that many jurisdictions use PUDs for minor projects (recently I heard of a town using it for accessory apartments!) and for single use developments.

    Given the complexity of most PUD procedures this seems like a real abuse of the tool, and suggests to me that communities do not know how to introduce some flexibility into their regulations without making a huge production of it. So, I am looking for examples of the overuse and abuse of PUDs, as well as for any more theoretical thoughts about this particular planning tool.
    We recently had an owner of a PUD submit an amendment to the PUD. The amendement besides not being allowed in any other zoning district is not even allowed in any other zoning district.

    Of course it was for a car dealer. Who moved as part of a TIF in town.

    In addition after giving comments to our senior planner that the original PUD had not been complied with the department director did not want to bring this up to the Planning & Zoning Commission.

    Go figure.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1999
    Location
    400 miles from Orlando
    Posts
    13,837
    Here's my opinion, which TN and SC may or may not agree with. In our jurisdiction, PUDs were used whenever we had last-minute applications from influential developers and we were told to GET IT ON THE AGENDA. It was a catch-all for bad development, railroaded thru by the P&D director and Planning Manager.

    There were some good, mixed-used PUDs over the years, of course, but it's become a band-aid recently.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Under the Table
    Posts
    1,900
    Blog entries
    6
    Our town board waived all the elements of a proposed PUD...that make it a PUD. It was a scam for the developer to get though. Our PUD consisted of senior apartments and a rec center...nothing else.
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

    Renovating the '62 Metzendorf
    http://metzendorf.blogspot.com/

  22. #22

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    Thanks all! Any additional PUD horror stories will be cheerfully accepted.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jan 2004
    Location
    montana
    Posts
    336
    I'm sure that the words "Duck Creek" send chills down your spine, Lee.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    205
    No horror stories here (at least not in relation to PUDs!) - we're a bit paranoid about them. They go through such a stringent review and the elected officials are very, very wary of granting them, but it is used as a way to make sure a developer sticks to his promises (ok, ok, a bit like contract zoning!) Fortunately, our code only allows mixed-use PUDs for 8-acre plus sites, which cuts down on the individual, spot-type ones.

  25. #25

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    The forces of light prevailed on Duck Creek (a large proposed PUD sitting on the western border of Yellowstone National Park), but of course we never prevail for long before the same ideas come back, re-packaged. Maybe the new package will be a little better.

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Uses Substance abuse facilities
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 06 Oct 2011, 11:16 AM
  2. Eminent domain abuse by Columbia University?
    Economic and Community Development
    Replies: 8
    Last post: 17 Jan 2007, 11:24 AM
  3. Serious Subject: Abuse
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 17 Sep 2004, 10:45 AM
  4. Abuse of eminent domain
    Economic and Community Development
    Replies: 19
    Last post: 20 Apr 2004, 11:33 AM
  5. How would you abuse god-like powers?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 22
    Last post: 18 Mar 2003, 11:57 AM