All News & Blogs
The Stafford Board of Supervisors take up a new transfer of development rights program.
BY JONAS BEALS
Stafford County supervisors have taken the first official step toward a transfer of development rights program. Proponents hope it will be a useful tool to combat suburban sprawl in the county.
A TDR program allows developers to buy potential development lots in a rural "sending" area and transfer them to a more urban "receiving" area. The rural property owner gets cash for the development rights while the developer gets
Supervisor Paul Milde, who has been leading the effort to implement a TDR program in Stafford, said that it may be the only mechanism the county has to limit growth outside of a countywide down-zoning.
"For me, this is going to be a no-brainer," Supervisor Gary Snellings said, adding that it could help the rural portions of his Hartwood District.
In a 5-2 vote last night, supervisors sent a potential TDR ordinance to the Planning Commission for public hearing and review. The Board of Supervisors would probably not revisit it until early next year, when it could hold another public hearing and possibly implement the program.
Most supervisors agreed with Snellings, but supervisors Bob Woodson and Harry Crisp had concerns about how the TDR program would function. Since the development rights transferred are by-right units, the entire process would be by-right. That means there would be no public review process to approve the transfer.
Crisp said that could mean a major development could happen without the neighbors having a chance to weigh in. "The public may never know until the 'dozers show up to move dirt around," Crisp said.
The proposed ordinance would not create a countywide TDR program, but rather a pilot program that focuses exclusively on the Brooke area. The proposed sending area encompasses the area east of Brooke between Aquia and Potomac creeks. The receiving areas are the Brooke Station and Courthouse urban development areas--zones the county has decided are prime high-density growth areas.