Calvert County Commissioners Approve TDR Program Reforms

A May 22 SoMdNews article reported that Calvert County Board of County Commissioners have approved the drafting of amendments that would reform the county’s transferable development rights (TDR) program.  The move is aimed at reinvigorating the program and increasing development in town centers.  From the article:

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to direct staff to move forward with text amendments to the town center master plans and zoning ordinances making the amount of TDRs required based on housing unit type, a suggestion from a group of stakeholders in the development and agricultural communities. …

In recent years, the county’s market for TDRs has been stagnant. TDRs are a means for farmers to preserve their land by selling the development rights to a developer who then builds housing units elsewhere in the county. The county has 12,300 TDRs that are unused or unretired, said Veronica Cristo, county rural planner. About 20,000 acres of farmland have been preserved in the county out of a goal of 40,000 acres. Additionally, the zoning ordinance doesn’t encourage a variety of housing types, said Jenny Plummer-Welker, long-range planner. …

The proposal is to change the TDR requirement from the current five TDRs per dwelling unit above one dwelling unit per acre to a reduced number of TDRs based on dwelling unit above one dwelling unit per acre, according to Tuesday’s presentation. Additionally, the group of stakeholders from the development and agricultural communities suggested discontinuing the ordinance in the Prince Frederick Town Center for a back yard to equal the size of a building’s footprint and to reduce the setback regulations for the Prince Frederick Town Center.


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