trophy homes to
Express Staff Writer
proposal floated during a Blaine County commissioners meeting last week
becomes reality, those who build large "trophy homes" will be
required to pay for the privilege.
arose unexpectedly at the beginning of a meeting Sept. 25 on a proposed
transfer-of-development-rights ordinance. The primary purpose of a TDR
program is to preserve south county agriculture by directing development
closer to cities. However, the TDR concept has been used in other
jurisdictions to reduce house sizes and their impacts on the community.
Chairwoman Mary Ann Mix told the 25 people attending last Wednesday’s
meeting that the board intends to add a provision to the proposed
ordinance requiring builders of homes 4,500 square feet or larger to buy
one development right for each additional 2,500 square feet of space.
aware of the tremendous impact that these trophy homes have on our
infrastructure," Mix said.
Sarah Michael added that the owners of large homes should help preserve
open space elsewhere in the county. Under the TDR program, the owners of
parcels in designated "sending areas" could sell the rights to
build as many units as zoning allows on undeveloped portions of their
interview, Commissioner Dennis Wright said the board had been
considering the concept for quite some time as an alternative to a
flat-out cap on house sizes, which, he said, would likely be vulnerable
to court challenges.
doesn’t prohibit anything," he said. "No one’s saying you
don’t have a right to go there, but that maybe some of the effects
should be mitigated."
measure has been in place in Pitkin County, Colo., since June 2000.
Under that ordinance, builders of homes larger than 5,750 square feet
must buy TDRs to get additional space. Pitkin County Planner Ezra
Louthis said that since the provision has been in effect, about half the
homes built have been done with additional TDRs. He said many homes have
come in at almost exactly 5,750 square feet, indicating that the
ordinance has had some effect in reducing size.
said prices for TDRs in the Pitkin County, which surrounds Aspen, have
ranged between $150,000 and $200,000. Wright said he doubts that TDRs in
Blaine County would go for more than $50,000 apiece, and would probably
be quite a bit less. At that price, he said, they are unlikely to have
much effect on house size.
few people who are playing that game have millions of discretionary
dollars," he said.