In IIS, (virtual) folder permissions can be set to NTFS ACLs on the folder so that filesystem permissions become prominent on the web. In that way it becomes relatively trivial to set up a site where everyone has read but only a select few have write (WebDAV) access.
What I would like to do is mimic that functionality on Linux; basically I have a user database (accessible via LDAP) and a set of folders (let's call them "sites") which need to be accessible by, or have a subfolder accessible by anyone on the web - but at the same time there needs to be WebDAV folders available for each so that certain users/groups can upload and download content from their site. I also need to be able to add sites dynamically but I suspect that can be worked out once a solution is found for the other issue.
Ideally all of this would be done in lightpd or nginx purely due to their memory footprint, but apache isnt out of the question if it comes to that.
Honesty, I realize that there's probably a very simple solution to this, but I just don't feel comfortable enough with the Linux server world to guess what it is. We (most unfortunately) depend on windows / iis at work which is probably half of whats doing my head in.