Difference between RPUD zoning and condominium zoning

Visitor Question: What is the difference between RPUD zoning and condominium zoning?

Editors' Reply:

RPUD commonly stands for Residential Planned Unit Development when used as a zoning classification.

There are three major differences between the two types of zoning:

1) RPUD in most cities employing such a district allows a mixture of housing types, and may even allow a minor amount of neighborhood commercial development.

By this we mean that an RPUD can and does include single-family homes, duplexes, and multi-family all within the same development.

In and of itself, RPUD doesn't imply anything about the ownership of the housing units.

These are generalizations, and of course an individual city could have different zoning regulations. Since most cities have managed to put their ordinance online, check to see if your city is included in this trend, and then read about what is allowed in and required of an RPUD for yourself.

2) Condominium zoning, if that is a classification in your town or city, always would imply that the units are intended to be sold individually. Most often condominiums take the form of attached dwellings, which vary from what would look just like an average apartment building on the exterior, to a loft development in a downtown area, to two, three, or four units that share common walls.

In a condominium, there is a condominium association, or homeowners association, that owns all or most of the land. The interior walls and all that is within them is what an individual owns. The association owns and cares for the rest.

Sometimes this varies, with a small lawn or patio included with each condominium unit.

3) Perhaps most importantly, the "PUD" part of RPUD stands for planned unit development, as we said. This is jargon from the last 30 years or so. The PUD arose as a response to developer and pro-growth pleas for more flexible zoning that allowed a developer to create more open space in return for a higher density, for instance, and many other possible rule changes.

The PUD allows the development to be considered as a whole. One impact might be making an unacceptably high housing density into one that the community will accept because other land is kept as open space or developed less densely than would be allowed by right under strict application of the zoning ordinance.

We could say more about that, but we'll just say that the PUD allows design flexibility for the developer but also was instituted often to give the city or town government the right to review the site plan for the first time.

So PUD is often a win-win.

But RPUD would allow a much wider variety of housing sizes, types, densities, and ownership situations, potentially, than a typical condominium zoning.

If you are a neighbor, one advantage of a category called condominium zoning might be that you might have a higher percentage of owner-occupants--if, and this is a big "if"--the condo association CC&Rs (covenants, codes and restrictions), also called a master deed, limits or forbids rental of condominiums.

We hope this helps you analyze whatever prompted your question.

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