Unified Development Code Re-Write


In August 2014, the City of Buda entered into a contract with Freese & Nichols to rewrite the City's Unified Development Code (UDC), its governing document for land development. The UDC has not undergone a major revision since its adoption in 2002. Since that time, the City has adopted several new planning documents to guide development, including the Buda 2030 Comprehensive Plan. These plans, available here, were developed through countless hours of citizen input on what the future vision for Buda should be. The UDC represents perhaps the most important piece to making that community vision for the future a reality.

The process involves three steps:
  • Diagnostic Evaluation. Includes review of the City’s existing UDC and approval processes, resulting in the definition of problems and issues arising out of current code & practices as they relate to adopted long-range plans.
  • UDC Preparation. Includes preparation of the actual customized UDC in a document that is consistent with adopted plans, legally-defensible and streamlined. Steps in this process include developing procedures & definitions, zoning districts & zoning standards, regulating plan & form-based regulations, zoning procedures & supplemental regulations, and subdivision standards and subdivision procedures.
  • Review Code & Adoption. Includes completion of the UDC and adoption process.
Every city's development regulations should be unique to them. As a result, the process of drafting a new development code can take 2-3 years and thousands of work hours to prepare.

Getting Involved

Focus groups took place on October 8, 2014 to create a technical diagnostic report, which included a variety of stakeholders:
  • Members of various city boards & commissions
  • Architects and engineers
  • Large property owners
  • Downtown commercial property owners
  • The real estate community
  • Economic development
  • Environmental interests
Several workshops took place with the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council throughout the process of rewriting the Unified Development Code.

The Diagnostic Report

Freese & Nichols, along with Design Workshop, have completed a UDC Diagnostic Report. This report was generated based on their review of our adopted plans, a meeting with Planning & Engineering staff along with LAN and Binkley & Barfield, and a series of stakeholder meetings that took place on October 8th. It also incorporates feedback received from the Planning & Zoning Commission on December 9th in its role as the advisory committee for the re-write, along with City Council from its December 16th meeting and follow-up February 12th meeting.

The goal of the diagnostic report is to capture some of the bigger picture issues present in the current Code—there will still be ongoing opportunities for input as we proceed into drafting new elements of the UDC. It is not an all-inclusive document.

City of Buda Unified Development Code Diagnostic Report

The Public Review Draft Development Code

Over a series of several meetings with the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council, including several workshops of each as well as joint workshops, Freese & Nichols, along with Design Workshop, have completed a Public Review Draft Development Code. This process involved the creation of multiple draft documents and the processing of several hundred comments made by the City Council, Planning & Zoning Commission and City Staff. The result is a complete draft document of development regulations designed to reflect the community vision, guiding principles, goal and objectives of the Buda 2030 Comprehensive Plan, and meeting legal requirements. It is not a copy of another city's code. Rather, it is a custom document tailored to the unique character of Buda.

The Public Review Draft Development Code was posted on January 9, 2017. From this time through May, five workshops were held with the Planning & Zoning Commission and five workshops were held with City Council.  Following this time, City Council adopted a resolution calling for and defining the process of adoption, consistent with Texas Local Government Code. This included the scheduling & notice for a joint public hearing of the two bodies at 6:00 p.m. on June 20, 2017. It is likely each body will have subsequent public hearings as well.

Public Review Draft Development Code January 2017

Workshop Comments January 2017 thru May 2017

Updated Draft Development Code August 2017

Zoning Atlas to Accompany Unified Development Code August 2017