St. Mary's BOCC Adopts TDR Ordinance Changes

LEONARDTOWN, Md. - The Board of County Commissioners for St. Mary’s County adopted an ordinance at this week’s meeting on Tuesday, July 10 to approve the zoning text amendment changes for the Transferable Development Rights (TDRs) program.

The TDR Program is a planning and preservation tool used to protect agricultural, historic or environmental land in the Rural Preservation District while accommodating the needs of development. A TDR is a mechanism permitting owners of preservation area land to separate the development rights of their property from the property itself and sell them for use elsewhere. Developers who purchase these development rights may then develop areas deemed appropriate for growth at densities higher than otherwise permitted. Once the development rights of a property are sold the land will be permanently restricted from further development.

The amendment changes will allow for calculating the number of TDRs on a sending property using gross acreage rather than first deducting from the gross acreage all acreage associated with sensitive areas; require use of a TDR for each dwelling after the initial dwelling on a property in the RPD zone (the property owner has an exclusion for up to two family members for dwellings on the property); and for receiving areas in the RPD, the number of TDR’s required for each anticipated dwelling as shown on a submitted subdivision plan, will be increased as density increases.

The new ordinance followed an extensive review process including a report developed by a community task force. The County Commissioners hosted two public information sessions in April and held a Public Hearing to receive comments on the proposed text amendments on May 15.

These new amendments should clarify the certification provisions for documenting transferred rights; clarify the language covering instruments of transfer; add grandfathering provisions; and limit the means of increasing residential density to using TDR’s.

The changes will be effective July 24, 2007. For more information about the changes, call Phil Shire at the Department of Land Use and Growth Management at 301-475-4200, x1508.

Source: St. Mary's County Government

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