Demystifying Planned Unit Developments (PUDS)

Written By: Glenn Michaels, Op-Ed Writer

Everyone knows what a condominium is, but for some reason not everyone knows what a Planned Unit Development is. In this article I will attempt to demystify what is Planned Unit Development (PUD).

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A planned unit development (PUD) is a type of building development and also a regulatory process. As a building development, it is designed grouping of both varied and compatible land uses, such as housing, recreation, commercial centers, and industrial parks, all within one contained development or subdivision.

The origins of PUDs in the new American communities can be traced to a British movement during the 1950’s. The developments in Britain’s new communities dealt with the location of industrial elements and how they were publicly dictated before building ever began in order to uphold an economic base

The oldest planned unit developments in the United States appeared shortly after World War II in the Levittowns and Park Forest developments within the limits of large metropolitan centers. The first zoning evidence in the United States was created in Prince George County, Maryland in 1949. It allowed the development of a large tract of land as a complete neighborhood unit, having a range of dwelling types, the necessary local shopping facilities and off street parking areas, parks, playgrounds, school sites and other community facilities. The first modern use of the actual term “planned unit development” appeared in San Francisco, California.

Current Definitions
PUD as a regulatory process is a means of land regulation which promotes large scale, united land development by means of mid – range, realistic programs in chase of physically curable, social and economic deficiencies in land and cityscapes. Where appropriate, the development control promotes:
-A mixture of both land uses and dwelling types with at least one of the land uses being regional in nature
-The clustering of residential land uses providing public and common open space
-Increased administrative discretion to local professional planning staff while setting aside present land use regulations and rigid plat approval processes
-Enhancement of bargaining process between the developer and the local government municipalities

Frequently, PUDs take on a variety of forms ranging from small clusters of houses combined with open spaces to new and developing towns with thousands of residents and various land uses.

A PUD will usually build and maintain the common area that is in a PUD that saves a local municipality significantly costs to build and to maintain the common areas. PUDs have a Housing Association and between the developer and the Housing Association there are rules for the placement of the houses, streets, sidewalks and pedestrian ways.

Very often the Housing Association dictates the number of houses, the improvements of the houses and what occurs with all of the common areas.

Homes situated in a PUD no longer have to be situated in an approved PUD project if the homeowner desires FHA financing. Generally a homeowner in a PUD receives most of the same benefits as a condominium owner, but the owner owns a house in a PUD project.

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My brother resides in an over 55 years of age PUD. He has a club house strictly for use by owners of houses in the PUD. They pay a Home Owner Association fee on a monthly basis and they receive all of the same amenities as if they live in a condominium but they reside in a house. In this case living in a PUD can work out to the advantage of the property owners since everything is done for them as it is covered by their HOA.

About The Author

Glenn Michaels - As an op-ed writer, Glenn Michaels is a mortgage underwriting instructor for CampusUnderwriter ( As a BBA & FHA DE Underwriter, Glenn is a Pace University graduate who also graduated from New York University’s School of Mortgage Finance. Glenn has conducted numerous training classes and has worked in the mortgage banking industry for 38 years. 

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