Transfer of Development Rights (TDR)

Description: TDR is a regulatory strategy that harnesses private market forces to accomplish two smart growth objectives. First, open space is permanently protected for water supply, agricultural, habitat, recreational, or other purposes via the transfer of some or all of the development that would otherwise have occurred in these sensitive places to more suitable locations. Second, other locations, such as city and town centers or vacant and underutilized properties, become more vibrant and successful as the development potential from the protected resource areas is transferred to them. In essence, development rights are “transferred” from one district (the “sending district”) to another (the “receiving district”). Communities using TDR are generally shifting development densities within the community to achieve both open space and economic goals without changing their overall development potential. This module of the Smart Growth / Smart Energy Toolkit provides an overview of TDR, bylaw examples, case studies and a slideshow.

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Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

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