Transfer of Development rights (TDR)

Can someone give an example of how the Transfer of Development rights zoning work? How it is used to preserve historic structures and agricultural property.


Hi @jamespongsa ! That’s a great question. Let’s see if one of our expert architects can help with this. @coachdarionziegler do you mind jumping in?

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Hi @jamespongsa ,

My apologies for the slow reply, I was traveling this week!

I found the resource below which does a great job explaining transfer of development rights:

Basically, this zoning strategy encourages building in areas appropriate for developing by providing financial incentive for owners of land more appropriate for preservation.

Let’s say Landowner John wants to develop his property, Property A, which is farmland. You can make a lot of money selling farmland for residential development. Zoning entities would prefer this land remain farmland, although they acknowledge the owner’s right to sell. Therefore, they allow Landowner John the rights to develop Property B, which they have decided is more appropriate for development. In turn, Landowner John terminates his rights to develop Property A, which allows it to be preserved. TDR programs attempt to ensure the value of the rights for development for the new property are equal to those of the original and provide due compensation.

This strategy is often used to preserve farmland, but may also be used for historic preservation or environmental reasons.

You can also read more about this strategy in the Site Planning and Design Handbook (2nd edition) on pages 407-409

Hope this helps!

Thank you @coachdarionziegler, great reference.
Page 409 " landowner retains all of his rights as an owner except for the development right. The land may be sold, and the restriction passes with the title."
Thank you,

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