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Home > City Departments > Office of Strategic Planning > Buffalo Green Code > Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)

Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)

Zoning is designed to protect a community by outlining what can and can’t be built on a given piece of land. It sets standards to ensure that adjacent buildings complement rather than conflict with each other. And it determines whether homes, schools, and stores are clustered together or set far apart.

The Unified Development Ordinance was adopted by the Common Council on December 27, 2017, signed into law by Mayor Brown on January 3, 2017, and became effective citywide on April 3, 2017. The new UDO is the city’s first comprehensive zoning rewrite since 1953 and codifies the land use policies of the Comprehensive Plan and Buffalo Green Code planning documents. It combines land use, subdivision, and public realm (e.g.; streets, parks, and sidewalks) standards into a single, user-friendly document.

The UDO implements the community’s vision for the development of the city. Responding to considerable input from residents and business owners, it is a “form-based code,” emphasizing neighborhood character, as its organizing principle. This approach was chosen because of its unique capacity to help realize the community’s vision for walkable, transit-supportive neighborhoods.

The entire December 2016 document is available here or broken into articles below.


Article 1. Introductory Provisions
Title, Purpose, and Applicability
Zoning Map
Transition Rules

Article 2. Definitions & Measurements
Rules of Interpretation
Glossary of Terms
Measurements & Exceptions

Article 3. Neighborhood Zones
Zone Descriptions
Building Types

Article 4. District Zones
D-R Residential Campus
D-M Medical Campus
D-E Educational Campus
D-S Strip Retail
D-C Flex Commercial
D-IL Light Industrial
D-IH Heavy Industrial
D-OS Square
D-OG Green
D-ON Natural

Article 5. Corridor Zones
C-M Metro Rail
C-R Rail
C-W Waterfront

Article 6. Uses
Principal Uses
Accessory Uses
Temporary Uses

Article 7. Site Development
Fences and Walls
Outdoor Lighting
Corner Visibility
Site Impacts

Article 8. Access & Parking
Pedestrian Access
Bicycle Access and Parking
Vehicle Access and Parking
Transportation Demand Management

Article 9. Signs
On-Premise Signs
Off-Premise Signs
Exempt Signs

Article 10. Transportation Network
Blocks Rights-Of-Way

Article 11. Administration & Approvals
Review Bodies & Administrators
Common Procedures
Zoning Approvals
Right-Of-Way Approvals
Subdivision Approvals

Article 12. Nonconformities & 

Article 13. Zoning Board of Appeals
Zoning Board of Appeals

Article 14. Planned Unit Developments
Planned Unit Development Number 1: Gates Circle Redevelopment
Gates Circle Redevelopment

Zoning Map – Citywide

Pedestrian Priority Frontage Map

Tools and Resources
 Buffalo GIS Maps – find the zoning designation for my property
 Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan Policy Guide – technical guidance for transportation professionals to prepare TDM plans

Zoning Forms – get downloadable forms for zoning applications