Traditional patterns of development can sometimes take us where we don’t want to go: under utilized commercial areas and/or town centers, while open space is taken for residential development.
What problems can this cause?
Loss of natural space and all that it contains and represents for the community
Inefficient transportation networks
Lack of vibrancy in town centers
Increased expense and difficulty in building higher density, affordable housing
Higher infrastructure servicing costs
Increase in land scarcity
Very high land consumption rates /per unit of development
Density Transfer Credits work to solve these problems by concentrating development in higher density, growth centers, while preserving open space and conservation lands. How is this done? First, a few definitions: Development Rights: The amount of development that could take place on a tract of land under zoning provisions. Conservation/Preservation (a.k.a. Sending Areas): Areas identified as priorities for preservation or significant decreases in development potential. Receiving Area: Areas that have potential to support more development than what is allowed by existing zoning and/or regulations. Density Transfer Credit: The value of development potential moved from an area to be conserved to an area intended for additional development
The owner of a conservation parcel (sending area) sells development rights in exchange for a permanent conservation easement. Some or all of development rights are removed through a permanent deed restriction (conservation easement). The easement is purchased as a density credit.
The owner of “receiving” growth area parcel buys development rights to build at densities higher than allowed under base zoning. The zoning is amended to allow an optional additional increment of development which can be accessed only by using density credits.
The developer proposing to develop in "receiving" area pays additional fee for developing at a higher density. The town places those developer monies in a conservation/preservation fund and the fund is used to purchase conservation easements in areas to be protected as they become available.
This is not a new concept and has been used since the 1960’s!
Potential Conservation Areas
Prime Agricultural Lands
Large Tracts of Unprotected Open Space
Aquifer Protection Overlays
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
Habitat for Rare and Endangered Species
Watersheds to Sensitive Surface Waters
Historic Districts or Structures
Areas identified as Natural Service Areas
Potential Receiving Areas
Village Centers and Town Centers
Transportation Nodes / TOD
Commercial or Industrial Districts
Areas Served by Infrastructure
Centralized Water Supply
Centralized Sewer System
Public Transportation Routes
Conventional and Cluster Residential Subdivisions
It’s got me wondering if there might be a place for their use in the MWV and, if so, where?