What are planned unit developments?

The Buncombe County zoning ordinance defines two types of planned unit developments, Levels I and II, that are subject to the county’s land use and subdivision ordinance standards.  These projects consist of building clusters that are specially designed and don’t have to follow normal zoning rules. According to the county’s ordinance, PUDs offer “substantial advantages for greater flexibility and improved marketability through the benefits of efficiency which permit flexibility in building siting, mixtures of housing types and land use.”

A Level I PUD can include:

  • More than four principal buildings or uses on a single lot
  • Principal buildings of 25,000 square feet or more
  • Residential complexes with more than eight units
  • Subdivisions of more than 10 lots, including areas set aside for open space and/or amenities, with smaller than usual lot sizes and setbacks

Level I PUDs can be residential only, mixed residential and nonresidential, or nonresidential. Allowable uses include the following:

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Private or public utility stations and pumping stations
  • Water and sewage plants and water storage tanks
  • Recreational projects
  • Schools
  • Vacation rental complexes

Level II PUDs are designated only for commercial and industrial uses. These developments include any single lot with more than four principal buildings and/or any principal building of 50,000 square feet or more. Level II PUD examples include retail trade, professional and business offices, warehouses and manufacturing facilities.


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About Sara Murphy
Sara Murphy lives in Leicester. Her work has appeared in 100 Days in Appalachia, Facing South, Polygon, and Lifehacker.

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