73rd Annual Farmers' Union Horse Show
Saturday, June 1, Heyser Field, 8:00 am
Fairview Village on Valley Forge Road
behind Worcester Township Community Hall
Join us for FOW's Fabulous Food Tent!
Transferable Development Rights Program Grows in Worcester
For the past 20 years, communities have successfully used state and county open space funding to purchase open space as well as conservation easements on many properties. The goal has been to preserve large tracts of land for habitat, open space, and farming. Today, however, public funding has become extremely limited. Communities must develop innovative ways to continue their open space programs and to assist property owners who want to preserve their undeveloped land. One such tool is transferable development rights (TDRs).
A TDR program allows owners of larger properties to sell or give away the right to develop their property in the future, while retaining ownership of their land. The property can still be sold or left to heirs, but the restrictions on future development cannot be overridden. The program is completely optional for landowners.
In February, the Supervisors approved a TDR ordinance that allows property owners in certain zoning districts to obtain an official certificate for the number of TDRs on their property, regardless of whether they want to sell their property for development. A landowner may keep this certificate, leave it to heirs, donate it to the township or to a land trust, or sell it. In general, properties of at least 30 acres in the AGR and LPD districts may apply to certify their TDRs.
The TDR program is controlled by the township, which certifies the number of TDRs (development rights) that are available to each property owner who applies to the program. The property owner can then choose whether to keep the TDRs or dispose of them. Once these TDRs are sold or given away, the property from which they originated will be restricted from development forever, using a Covenant that will be filed with the Recorder of Deeds.
This program offers a way for the township to preserve open space and farmland without spending money to buy easements or land. For landowners, it offers the ability to protect their land in a different way than a traditional conservation easement. It also offers them the opportunity to separate the development value of their property from the land itself. This gives landowners increased flexibility for financial and estate planning purposes.
The next step will be to enact ordinances allowing TDRs to be used in certain areas in the township, called “receiving areas.” The first proposed receiving area is Cedars village. These increases are proposed only for commercial uses, such as retail or office space. Property owners will be allowed to increase the commercial square footage or impervious coverage, up to a certain limit in the ordinance, if they buy the required number of TDRs. The real estate market will determine the value of the TDRs.
FOW encourages interested residents to support Worcester’s growing TDR program as part of our continued commitment to preserving open space and the rural heritage of our township.
The Moran Conservation Project
In 2011, Friends of Worcester assisted in the work to conclude the preservation of the Moran property, 81 acres adjoining Evansburg State Park. The property connects existing preserved open space to the state park and is a priority parcel in Worcester’s Open Space Plan. It also provides a long-sought trail corridor to Evansburg State Park and beyond. To see a video about this preservation project, click this link: The Moran Conservation Project.
(Open to the Public, Mtgs Begin at 7:30PM)
(Open to the Public)
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