TDRs are here to stay – for now |

TDRs are here to stay – for now

Andy Bourelle

Even though no one has used them, or is expected to for a few years, transfer development rights are here to stay – for now, at least.

The Board of County Commissioners met Tuesday with the Planning Commission to discuss several county issues, including management strategies in the 1996 master plan such as the transfer development rights program.

No one has used the transfer development rights program yet, and there was debate on whether or not the program would work, but the two boards agreed it was too premature get rid of it.

Transfer development rights are supposed to bring about growth by giving building bonuses to land owners who sell their development rights to owners of property close to existing development. The program is intended to preserve open spaces in the Carson Valley, leave ranch land in operation and keep the county’s infrastructure costs affordable.

Some officials were strong proponents of the plan; some were skeptical.

Planning Commissioner Virginia Henningsen, a ranch owner, supported transfer development rights.

“I’m 100 percent in favor of them,” she said at the meeting, “and I think we should hold off and stay firm.”

County Commissioner Kelly Kite wasn’t so sure, saying the program seemed like government regulation of private land.

“I don’t want to tell you how to run your ranch,” he told Henningsen.

Douglas County Planning and Economic Development Manager John Doughty said ranchers would not have to use the program if they did not want to. The transfer development rights program was available if and when ranchers wanted to use it.

Planning Commissioner Brian Krolicki explained the program as an “added dimension of possibilities” to what Valley landowners could do with their land.

County Commission Chair Jacques Etchegoyhen said the transfer development rights were “a tool, one of many,” and having them available in Douglas County couldn’t be a disadvantage.

“That’s the bottom line,” he said. “They don’t hurt.”

The county officials discussed how the county has had a 2 to 3 percent growth rate the past two years, with the same average over the last 20 years. In 1994, there was a spike in the growth rate of somewhere between 8 to 9 or 12 to 13 percent.

The transfer development rights were established as one of several options for an economically feasible way to channel the growth.

County Manager Dan Holler said it is expected that no one has yet tried to use the transfer development rights. The planning staff does not expect any to be used for five years.