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TDR program in Stafford County makes a stop
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Date published: 7/7/2012
Stafford County supervisors want to take a "breather" on a pilot land-use program that has been in discussions for years, just as a landowner pushes for permission to build on a disputed tract of land.
Transfer-of-development rights programs aim to preserve open spaces while limiting urban sprawl. Passage of a TDR ordinance would allow development to be moved to areas deemed more appropriate for growth.
However, after hearing concerns from the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, the Board of Supervisors decided to look at several problem areas of the program, rather than moving it on to public hearing.
"This is so bad that even if I voted for it because it's better than nothing, it's not much better than nothing," said Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde said, who has pushed the TDR program.
Milde will chair a subcommittee with supervisors from two rural areas, Bob Thomas and Gary Snellings. They will discuss whether a TDR ordinance should progress as a pilot or expand to other areas of the county. No timeline was set.
Patrick Coady, chairman of the NVCT, pointed out that because Stafford's program as written focuses only on voluntary preservation for one limited area of the county, there are "unintended consequences."
The proposed TDR "sending area" is identified as the two peninsulas along the Potomac River between Aquia and Potomac creeks. That area includes the nearly 350 lots of Crow's Nest Harbour subdivision that were never developed and are now owned primarily by a handful of limited liability corporations. Property owners could have sent the density rights (the ability to build homes on a property) to the "receiving area," which was identified as the Courthouse urban development area.
Coady hopes ultimately that the now-defunct Crow's Nest Harbour subdivision will become part of the neighboring nearly 3,000-acre Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve.
Coady noted that one line in the TDR proposal allows construction of buildings no more than 6,000 square feet for agricultural or forestry uses.
However, most eligible lots are about 2 acres each. TDR is ideally meant to preserve large tracts of land.