In a MD Planning Secretary Corner announcement (2016-04-25), Maryland Secretary of Planning Secretary David Craig outlined his vision for revitalizing Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs in the state. Previously, the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) had convened TDR Committee to propose reforms to State and local practices regarding TDR programs. The Committee’s report was released in April of 2016. From the announcement:
Through TDR programs, developers, rather than the government, buy development rights from owners of rural land that lies in designated sending areas, which county governments designate for preservation. A perpetual conservation easement is then placed on the property. Developers can use their purchased development rights to build more residences, increase commercial square footage or gain other marketable features in receiving areas, which are located in areas where development and infrastructure are planned and desired.TDR programs can be a win for rural landowners, who realize much of the value of their land without developing it; for developers, who have more or improved product to sell in growth areas; and for taxpayers, who protect the land and its resources without spending public dollars. TDR programs, however, often face significant challenges to their success. Approximately half of Maryland’s counties have adopted these programs. Some have never been used while Montgomery County’s program is among the most successful in the nation. …The goal of the [TDR Committee] was to compare and analyze local TDR programs in Maryland, identify essential program features, and develop solutions to reduce obstacles to successful program implementation. I am pleased to report that the TDR Committee achieved this goal and has issued a report. The report describes essential TDR program features obstacles to success and a series of recommendations developed jointly by Planning and the TDR Committee. …In keeping with Planning’s mission and the administration’s commitment, the department offers its technical assistance to counties that wish to amend their TDR program or create them anew, offering another opportunity to preserve rural landscapes and character. This can include a review of a TDR statute, development of communication materials, or use of Planning’s expertise with data, maps, and policy. Planning also intends to reconvene the TDR Committee periodically in order to share updates on program activity and changes to their local TDR programs.