The topic of PUDs as a zoning district was discussed by another user a few months back but I want to bring the topic back up to the surface since my community does have PDD as a district on our zoning map and we are thinking about expanding its use. (Right now about 20% of our land area is zoned PDD). We are a completely built out inner ring suburb of about 12,000 that was built on a typical 1960’s suburban plan. Our PDD offers a great deal of flexibility in that there are no bulk standards, setbacks etc and each use would receive a site specific agreement that runs with the land.
It seems that the overriding sentiment in the previous thread and elsewhere is that PUDs/PDD should be limited in their use and that more specific mixed use zoning districts should be codified instead. What are people’s thoughts about this?
In my opinion our PDDs work great and make sense. I would like to offer our experience as a counterpoint to what I view as the common arguments about the disadvantages with having a PDD on a zone map or using them in general:
1) Argument: "Slow process for developers who have to wrangle with Staff".
Yes a PUD/PDD process is a little slower, than other land use approvals but it has never halted any project and problems are avoided if you are clear on the length of time up front. The wrangling generally leads to positive compromises anyway.
2) Argument: "A PDD zoning district is not as easy for developers and officials to understand as say, standard Euclidean zoning. This lack of clarity could lead to proposals that aren’t really what the community intends for a given neighborhood".
3) Argument: "The zoning code is inherently flawed if too many PDD/PUDS need to be used".
OK yeah so our zoning code is flawed (isn’t everyone’s?) but we need something in the meantime to handle new proposals with flexibility and progressive site design principals. Our code rewrite is slowly coming along with a comp plan, but the end is still 2 years out maybe.
Argument #3 really gets at my big question…with the PDD working so well for our community does it even make sense to bother with trying to write a new mixed use zoning district, or do we need to avoid “overusing” the PDD?