The PUD process started out years ago as a good thing - an allowance for the owner of a large tract(s) with multiple zonings (inside the URDL) to develop it with mixed use without the specific constraints of the zoning on the individual parts. Thus, they could rearrange the uses to a more useful configuration in a "mixed use" project. But the original notion was that they could not do anything not allowed by the underlying zoning.
Over the years, this process has been weakened, first by some allowances outside the URDL and using it for very small parcels without any "mixed-use" plan. It simply became a cheaper and quicker way to get a development done than what was allowed under the "normal" development process. Developers soon viewed at as a "short-cut", simpler and quicker than going through the proper, once every 4 year rezoning process - CZMP.
Part of the problem with the process is that it is essentially begun by the County Council passing a resolution to approve the use of this process (under the principle of "Councilmanic Courtesy", which means that one Council Member makes the decision and the others sheepishly go along). When it gets to the usual County departments charged with the review, they treat it as if the Council already approved the project and will virtually never object or oppose the project.
This problem is clearly illustrated by a quote from Kach in an article in The Peake on the subject in which he states: "In my time as a council member I have only approved one PUD ..." No, he approved the application of the process, not the PUD itself, but this distinction is lost on many.
- Completely prohibit outside the URDL - no exceptions.
- Establish a minimum size, at least 10 acres.
- Require that the PUD include significant amounts of different zonings (unintentional slivers due to zoning map inaccuracies don't count).
- Require that the plan will be "mixed use" - residential and business.
- Clearly require that no use, density, etc. not allowed by the entire underlying zoning is permitted.
- Mandate that a PUD can never be used to avoid other development requirements such as the open space fee, limited exemption cases.
- Do something to help ensure that passage of the Resolution by the Council to authorize the process is not seen by the Administrative staff as an "approval" which they cannot oppose.
Citizens have begun to rise up in objection against this atrocity. See here for recent article.