TDRs help direct growth |

TDRs help direct growth

One of the keys to smart growth is to put growth where the infrastructure is. The new Countywide Comprehensive Plan is on track to do just that by expanding a transferable development rights (TDR) program operating in the Upper Blue Basin across the county.

Much has to happen for that to take place, but we like that the Countywide Planning Commission wants to institutionalize TDRs as an across-the-board growth control tool.

TDRs create a market for both backcountry landowners and in-town developers to exercise property rights. In the Upper Blue Basin, one TDR is worth $34,000, a benchmark set by the county commissioners.

One TDR equates to one residential unit or 1,000 square feet of commercial development.

A developer can buy TDRs to increase density, subject to ultimate land-use approvals for the overall project. In theory then, the backcountry is saved disturbance but the right to development is exercised where it makes more sense.

Still to be debated is where the sending districts and receiving districts will be in the rest of the county. The decision requires cooperation from the incorporated towns who have to agree to take additional density.

How the program might work in greater Silverthorne is especially interesting, considering the permitted density that already exits in the town and the worry about the town – or development – spreading north, deeper into the Lower Blue Valley. We got a taste of this concern when the Lower Blue Basin Master Plan was updated last year.

But the debate has to start somewhere.

The new Countywide Comprehensive Plan will provide that spark once the planning commission and the Board of County Commissioners administer their final stamps of approval.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Kim Nicoletti and Martha Lunsky.

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