You're definitely playing it safe.
Your settings are going to keep you from being able to create additional folders in you DIRECTORIES should you need to on demand via apache.
I'd suggest that you use the following permissions:
DIRECTORIES: drwxrwx--- root apache
FILES: -rw-rw---- root apache
Add your developers to the apache group so that the can continue to write to these files should they log in via ssh or ftp.
You can have liberal file permissions if you can trust what users are running them. If you're code is solid then you can allow the apache group to do more with permissions.
Edit: In general give apache:
rwx if it needs to create folders
rw if it needs to create files
r if everything is static
In the end what it boils down to is only giving the permissions that you must. Make them as conservative as possible and open them up as you develop your application if you need to.
One little thing about groups. You'll see some examples that show this (these are correct settings, too):
DIRECTORIES: drwxrwxrw- root somegroup
FILES: -rw-rw-r-- root somegroup
These permissions are required for a web application to run because the apache user is not part of the group permissions. In that case, apache is considered everyone so you need to set permissions to allow everyone to interact with your website. An by everyone I don't mean everyone in the world (ie anonymous). I mean everyone one who is currently a user on your server (look in /etc/passwd to get a list).