Upper Blue Master Plan updated with TDR map adjustments | SummitDaily.com

Upper Blue Master Plan updated with TDR map adjustments

summit daily news

BRECKENRIDGE – The Upper Blue Planning Commission on Thursday approved adjustments to the Upper Blue Basin Master Plan that include re-working the map of areas for use of transferable development rights.

Summit County’s TDR program began in 2000 to allow property owners to make money by transferring unused density. The program has led to movement of potential development from the backcountry to areas where public utilities are more readily available.

The updated master plan changes properties south of the town of Blue River, and elsewhere in the basin, from “receiving” to “neutral” areas. Neutral areas are unable to send or receive density through the program.

Most of the density from sending areas could be expected to be transferred to Breckenridge and Blue River.

The planning commission on Thursday night indicated – in agreement with a staff recommendation – that a property owner in a non-“sending” area who wanted the option to sell five TDRs wouldn’t be able to do so. Zoning allowed potential for more units than the county considered feasible for the property’s size, and a staff report described units for proposed TDRs as “phantom.”

In addition, the market for TDRs has dwindled in the existing economy.

“Staff feels that there are limited sites where TDRs can be transferred to, and diluting the bank of TDRs with units from any property other than those within the priority areas works against the system,” according to a staff report to the planning commission.

Honoring the property owner’s proposal would have required significant changes to the TDR program.

Changes to the Upper Blue Basin Master Plan came as part of the result of a court decision last year that struck down the county’s requirement of a developer to purchase TDRs for a property when the owner tried to re-establish vacated lot lines.

Development rights sell for roughly $40,000 each.

The Upper Blue Basin TDR program has been the most successful such program in the county. It has protected 987 acres and generated $1.56 million to be used for more open space purchases. It has protected an estimated 33 percent of properties zoned backcountry, according to the master plan.

Robert Allen can be contacted

at (970) 668-4628 or


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