Use Planning Strategies--
Transfer of Development Rights
Transfer of development rights "is a device by
which the development potential of a site is severed from its
title and made available for transfer to another location. The
owner of a site within a transfer area retains property ownership,
but not approval to develop. The owner of a site within a receiving
area may purchase transferable development rights, allowing
a receptor site to be developed at a greater density." (State
of California, Office of Planning and Research, General Plan
Transfer of development rights is a tool often used in farmland
The National Association of Realtors has assembled a Field
Guide to Transfer of Development Rights that offers
links to information on TDRs, issues in implementing TDR programs,
and case studies.
Boulder County, Colorado Transferred Development Rights program is featured on the County’s
website. The site provides background information on TDR
programs including general definitions and the TDR exchange
process. King County, Washington, has a Transfer
of Development Rights Program modeled on the Boulder
program and others.
New Jersey has a Transfer
of Development Rights Bank that provides financial and
other assistance to landowners and municipalities that enact
TDR ordinances to encourage a shift in growth away from agricultural,
environmentally sensitive or open space regions of a municipality
to more appropriate areas.
Planners Web offers a Transfer of Development Rights Resources Page, with examples of the concept in application and links to further resources.
of Development Rights for Balanced Development
An article from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy that examines
the opportunities and obstacles of Transfer of Development Rights
in preserving open space and encouraging compact, centered development.
of Development Rights, Series III: Innovative Tools
and Techniques, Local Leaders Guide to Land Use Law, Pace University
Land Use Law Center
Describes an effective TDR program and outlines TDR statutes
in the state of New York.
of Development Rights Update
This American Planning Association Conference presentation by
Rick Pruetz from 1999 briefly describes 35 different TDR programs.
of Development Rights, Ohio State University Fact Sheet
Explains TDR principles and their use, especially as applied
A fact sheet produced by 1000 Friends of Minnesota that describes
TDR and gives examples of successful programs.
Transfer of Development Rights:
Cases, Statutes, Examples, and a Model
A presentation by attorney John B. Bredin, given at the APA National Planning Conference in 2000.
of Development Rights May Become A Valuable Farmland Protection
Tool in Wisconsin in the Next Century, Law
of the Land Review, November 1997 (PDF)
Development Rights: A Market Approach to Preserving Farmland
and Open Space
Describes the logistics of Transfer of Development Rights programs
to protect open space.
Incentive-Based Land Use Policies and Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay (PDF)
A discussion paper from Resources for the Future Foundation analyzes three economic incentive-based policies that could be used to alter land use patterns--purchase of development rights (PDRs), transferable development rights (TDRs), and development impact fees--and explores the strengths and weaknesses of each policy.
Development Rights, 1994, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute
This Technical Service Report succinctly explains the various
types of techniques employed, the benefits and problems created,
and the legal hurdles TDRs present.
of Development Rights, 2000
Association offers this audiotape focusing on
where TDR fits in the toolbox of community incentive programs
for preserving agricultural and sensitive land.
Planning for TDR: A Handbook for New Jersey
Available from the Burlington County Office of Land Use Planning
by calling (609) 265-5787.
Chapter on TDR in Holding Our Ground: Preserving
America's Farms and Farmland, 1997.
Available from Island
"Making Transferable Development Credits Work:
A Study of Program Implementation," Journal of the
American Planning Association, Vol. 52, No. 2, Spring 1982,
A study describing methods for successfully employing
transferable development credits programs. Available from the
American Planning Association
"Institute a Transferable Development Credits
Program," Building Sustainable Communities, Vol. 10,
Land Use: Stewardship and the Planning Process, Global Cities
Project, 1993. ISBN 1-88036-10-0.
Introduces the principles of transferable development
credits programs. Includes a profile of a transferable development
credits program in Montgomery County, Maryland. Available from
the Global Cities Project: 2962 Fillmore Street San Francisco,
CA 94123. Phone: (415) 775-0791; FAX (415) 775-4159
Last updated: December 7, 2004
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