Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Analysis

Transfer of Development Rights Rhode Island RhodeMap RIThe Relevance of the Development Rights (TDR) Plan to RhodeMap RI

1.  The scariest part of RhodeMap RI is not included in the RhodeMap RI plan at all, it is the Transfer of Development Rights program cited on pages 65, 116, 123, 158, and from the "RHODEMAP RI ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN: DRAFT IMPLEMENTATION MATRIX pg. 6 :

Pg. 65;  

"Part of the RhodeMap RI process included the development of detailed technical guidance on the tools needed to establish and regulate these areas.  This effort was, in turn, bolstered by the release of RIDEM’s Village Training Manual and a supporting document entitled Rhode Island Transfer of Development Rights Manual. These documents represent one of the most comprehensive suites of technical guidance in the country for implementing Growth Centers at a wide variety of scales and design."

Pg. 123; 

"c. Provide guidance and funding to local communities for the implementation of innovative tools that can increase development density with high quality design . . .

"d. Adopt revised state legislation for the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) to facilitate strategic, increased economic activity and housing development. Use RIDEM draft legislation as a starting point."


2d. Adopt revised state legislation for the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) to facilitate strategic, increased economic acticity(sic) and housing development. Use RIDEM draft legislation as a starting point.

"2c. Provide guidance and funding to local communities for the incorporation of pedestrian, bicycle and transit amenities into redevelopment opportunities, the redevelopment of suburban retail strips and adoption of Transfer of Development rights legislation."

TDR (Transfer of Development Rights) Analysis

1.  Introduction;

" The land use techniques studied addressed issues such as: creating new growth centers to avoid sprawl, encouraging village revitalization and infill development, transferring development rights, preserving meaningful open space, and preventing strip commercial development."

Conclusion:  Growth Centers mean high density housing combined with commercial real estate for the goal of eliminating the privacy of single family homes.

2.  Pg. 8;

" Transfer of Development Rights, or TDR, is a land use regulatory tool under which development rights can be severed from a tract of land and sold in a market transaction. The parcel from which the rights are transferred is then permanently restricted as to future development, and the purchaser of the rights may assign them to a different parcel to gain additional density—for example, more residential units or more commercial floor area than would be allowed without the transferred rights. Usually, TDR programs designate sending areas from which rights may be transferred, and receiving areas to which the rights may be sent."

Conclusion:  Rights are not ascribed to inanimate objects, in this case land, they are ascribed to people.  By  implementing a TDR, rights can now be sold on the open market like any other commodity. 

This is obviously a corrupt view of rights.  Rights are vested in people, not property.  What a TDR program does is not give someone the right to sell their development rights, they are selling EVERYONE'S future development rights forever to the government.  If government owns the development rights to a property, government owns the property.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from a established TDR program in society is that all rights can now be bought and sold as long as they can be tied to an inanimate object. 

With a successful TDR program implemented in Rhode Island, coupled with the provisions outlined in RhodeMap RI, the only result will be government control of all land except for the high capacity, mixed use space owned by the citizens. 

3.  Pg. 8 & 19;

Pg. 8:  " Establishment of a transferable development rights program allows this right to develop to be separated from the land and attached to a different piece of property"

Coupled with:

Pg. 19:  " A town can further enhance the feasibility of a TDR program by establishing a system for banking development rights to resolve the timing issue that occurs when a landowner in the sending area is ready to participate but no potential buyers are ready to purchase those rights."

Conclusion:  By creating a state bank, the government takes ownership of one piece of property by paying off one person to sell everyone's future right to develop on it, and then the government then recovers that cost by waiting for another entity to buy those building "rights" in order to create high density, mixed use properties elsewhere.

4.  Pg. 9;

" Under the cluster approach, dwellings are grouped on a small area of a tract of land rather than being dispersed over the entire tract, with the remaining land being restricted from future development; thus, the right to develop the preserved open space may be considered to have been “transferred” from one portion of the tract to another. TDR takes the cluster development approach a step further by allowing this transfer of development rights not just within a single tract but between separate tracts that may be widely separated in space."

Conclusion:  This paragraph pretty much speaks for itself.  Quoting it should be sufficient.

5.  Pg. 10;

" It must be emphasized that a purely voluntary TDR program is a weak tool for implementing land use policies . . . TDR is much more effective when it is established as a complement to a mandatory rezoning strategy than as a completely voluntary option to existing zoning."

Conclusion:  The TDR planners wish to force citizens to comply with their policies.

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  • John Niewiecki