An analysis of planned unit development (PUD) regulations and processes in Washington, DC: a development risk management case study Public Deposited

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  • February 28, 2019
  • Moravec, Alexandra Croft
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of City and Regional Planning
  • The following report details the current state of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) regulations and procedures in Washington, DC. Based on interviews with planners, community leaders, land use attorneys, architects, and developers with extensive experience working on PUDs, the report answers the questions: how are the regulations and the processes currently working, and what are their specific strengths and weaknesses? The report finds that the process's overarching shortcoming is its uncertainty: developers seldom know how long the process will take, or what the final required proffer to the community will be. The large variation between proffer packages and the variation of timing is caused, in large part, by the fact that communities do not know how to get involved in the PUD process, and are unsure about the breadth and scope of their allowed involvement. This variability of outcomes makes it challenging for developers to embark upon new PUD projects, since the more closely they can model expected outcomes, the more carefully they can manage the inherent risk involved in undertaking PUDs, and vice versa. In addition to making the process difficult for developers, the discrepancies between final PUD proffer packages may seem inequitable to communities, many of which may feel unfairly treated when they receive far less in a PUD negotiation than another neighborhood or community. In light of these findings, this report recommends a number of ways to improve DC's PUD process; these recommendations are a menu of options from which the city can pick and choose to meet its goals. First, the city could much more clearly state the rules and timing of engagement between communities and developers. Second, once the process is more clearly defined, DCOP could actively educate communities about how the process works and how they can get involved productively. The city could conduct training sessions with ANC members and other community leaders. Third, DCOP could act as a facilitator for communities, helping guide them through their role in the PUD process. Fourth, DCOP (or some other third party) could act as a mediator in all interactions between the communities and the developers. This third party's role would be to keep the process organized and equitable, and to act as a referee, or an objective "truth-teller." Fifth, communities could create their own inventories of needed improvements, before any PUDs are begun, so that developers could base their initial proffers off of those lists of needed items. Sixth, it is possible to shorten other aspects of the process - outside the community-developer interaction - that delay it unnecessarily.
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  • In Copyright
  • Rohe, William
  • Master of City and Regional Planning
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 88 p.
  • Open access

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