Transparency might help TDR program

One of the key mantras in the run-up to the approval of the Douglas County Master Plan in 1996 was to keep development in the sagebrush.

One of the key methods of achieving that was to transfer development rights off agricultural property to receiving areas located closer to where services are available.

The program languished in its first few years but got a big boost in 2001 when it was revamped to include several bonuses depending on the nature of the sending area.

In the following years at the beginning of the 21st Century, several projects arrived for approval, including many that are making their way through the system now.

Those approvals spurred residents to petition for the approval of the Sustainable Growth Initiative in 2002. It would be five years before the county would implement a form of the initiative into code, right in time for the Great Recession and the collapse of the housing market.

In the meantime, one question surrounding the transfer of development rights is where those rights are coming from, specifically?

In a rare exception, the Buckeye Farms project indicates development rights from the Klauber Ranch would be the first used for the neighborhood approved by commissioners last week.

Unlike the other means of preserving ranch land by purchasing development rights through the federal government, there isn’t a requirement that developers reveal where they are getting the rights to build until they record a final map.

That’s a little late in the process for our tastes.

Projects are required to have will serve letters for every form of utility. It seems to us it would be a good idea to have a similar letter from the person providing development rights, as well.

That would help improve transparency, if nothing else.


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