Unified Development Ordinance

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 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 will combine 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 will be 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. It will be a more accessible document, with illustrations, tables, and plain English text, making the ordinance easier to understand and apply.

The entire Document (92 MB) is available here or broken into articles below.
To download multiple PDF documents in a section, go to the bottom of the page


Article 1. Introductory Provisions

Title, Purpose & Applicability
Zoning Map
Transition Rules
Effective Date

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 & Walls
Outdoor Lighting
Corner Visibility
Site Impacts

Article 8. Access & Parking

Pedestrian Access
Bicycle Access & Parking
Vehicle Access & Parking
Transportation Demand Management

Article 9. Signs

On-Premise Signs
Off-Premise Signs
Exempt Signs

Article 10. Transportation Network


Article 11. Administration & Approvals

Review Bodies
Common Procedures
Zoning Approvals
Right-Of-Way Approvals
Subdivision Approvals

Article 12. Nonconformities & 


Draft Map


Table 3A: Building Types
Table 3B: Frontage Types
Table 5A: Waterfront Yards
Table 6A: Principal Uses
Table 7A: Buffer Yards
Table 7B: Lighting Zones
Table 7C: Total Site Lumen Limits
Table 7D: Maximum BUG Ratings
Table 8A: Bicycle Parking
Table 8B: Surface Parking Location
Table 8C: Driveway Dimensions
Table 8D: Parking Stall & Drive 
Aisle Dimensions
Table 9A: Sign Illumination
Table 9B: Sign Types
Table 9C: Total Sign Area
Table 10A: Block Dimensions
Table 10B: Median Dimensions
Table 10C: Streetscape Element Location
Table 11A: Review Bodies
Table 11B: Notice
Table 11C: Public Hearing

Related Documents

A number of reports have been prepared during the formulation of the Unified Development Ordinance. As new documents related to the UDO are completed, they will be added to the web site.
A Preview of Buffalo’s New Zoning (PDF)
Buffalo Consolidated Development Framework, Draft Scoping Document (PDF)
Understand the Green Code Better FAQs (PDF)
Zoning Policy Brief (PDF)
Zoning Technical Report (PDF)
Existing Zoning (PDF) and Subdivision Ordinances (PDF)