After years of concerns that the planned unit development (PUD) zoning district did not work to the best advantage of developers and city staff, officials are considering a change to the code.

PUDs encourage mixed use, create a variety of housing, promote flexibility in placement of buildings and encourage large scale well-planned development.

A PUD gives aldermen the authority to approve a range of variances for developments that do not fit the strict rules of the zoning codes.

Under current rules, all subdivisions and any new commercial development must apply for and be classified a PUD zoning district, this includes developments in the C-1, C-2, M-1 and M-2 zoning districts.

Developers large and small are required to pay a PUD application fee of $2,000 to have their project reviewed. The original intent of the ordinance was that the $2,000 fee would be applied against any inspection or legal review of the development.

Officials worried that in the case of simple developments and small subdivisions the requirement placed an onerous burden on the developer. They also worried that some developers simply walked away rather than pay $2,000 up front when there was no guarantee that their project was economically viable.

Developers also complained that the rules were an unnecessary burden to small developments where the property was zoned for the requested use and no building variances were requested.

“Some developments just never happened,” said Mike Bates, former alderman and longtime planning and zoning board member.

Under a code amendment that was proposed by short-term zoning officer Shawn Seymour, the stipulation that makes PUD zoning a requirement in a wide range of developments would be eliminated.

If the code amendment is approved, a developer would have the option to seek PUD classification.

If a planned project does not strictly fit the city’s building and zoning regulations and a developer wants some relief from the codes, he would have the opportunity to request a PUD. He would then have to make his case to the planning and zoning commission and the board of aldermen for the requested variances.

Developers that want to develop a site that is zoned for their use would face a more simple approval process.

Aldermen will be asked to complete the first reading of the proposed ordinance at the Aug. 6 board meeting.