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South of Downtown PUD

The South of Downtown Innovation Planned Unit Development (PUD) is a regulatory process that determines what public spaces can be used for in the South of Downtown focus area (10th to 17th & A to K Streets). It is our role at South of Downtown CDO to use the PUD as a tool to mitigate barriers to economic stability that have been created by our current zoning standards and empower our neighbors to shape their lived environment.

PUD stands for “Planned Unit Development,” and it’s a zoning tool that the city uses to determine what land can be used for in certain geographic areas. For example, a PUD would determine whether buildings on a plot of land could be used for housing, retail, restaurants, office space, and more. 

This kind of control over land use helps to maintain the balance of where we can live/work/play, and it allows our city to protect spaces that are reserved for housing our neighbors while also promoting land use that furthers our economic stability and prosperity. 

The South of Downtown Innovation PUD was proposed by SDCDO to the City of Lincoln and was approved unanimously by Lincoln City Council on July 26, 2021. It was borne from conversations with our neighbors in the Everett and Near South neighborhoods (Census Tracts 20.01 and 20.02) about the things in our lived environment that impact our quality of life, like housing, transportation, employment, and more. 

From these community conversations, we learned that our current zoning standards create major barriers to affordable housing and having equitable access to various resources and services close to where we live. In our neighborhoods, 94% of our neighbors are renters, and our average annual median income is less than $24,000. Having affordable housing is vital to our neighbors’ economic stability as are having economic opportunities close to home. While our neighbors’ top 10 priorities are included in the South of Downtown Redevelopment & Strategic Plan, we first needed to update our zoning to allow the change that our community is seeking.

Affordable, accessible, and quality housing is a top priority for our neighbors, but previous zoning presented a significant barrier to redeveloping affordable housing on nonconforming lots. The South of Downtown Innovation PUD makes it possible to redevelop affordable housing on these nonconforming lots. Additionally, past zoning did not allow cooperative housing, an affordable housing model that has been consistently suggested by our neighbors. The South of Downtown Innovation PUD makes it possible to build cooperative housing in our neighborhoods. 

Expanding economic opportunities is another top priority for our community, but previous zoning restricted the opportunity for our neighbors to work closer to home or within their homes. The South of Downtown PUD allows us to access and create economic opportunities closer to where we live by expanding the allowed uses of land in a graduated transition from Downtown to the center of our neighborhoods. Residential housing is still prioritized by underlying zoning, and the PUD allows these land uses in the chart below, where they were nearly impossible under previous zoning.

The intent of the South of Downtown Innovation PUD is not to replace housing with businesses but rather to allow housing and economic opportunities so that our neighbors can live, work, and play in our neighborhoods. 

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