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Wednesday — February 4, 2004


TDR advocates push
for city ordinance

Hailey mayor insists effort come from public

Express Staff Writer

Preparing to approach the City of Hailey about writing a transfer of development rights ordinance for the city, a diverse group of people assembled last week at the offices of the Wood River Land Trust in Hailey. The goal of the meeting for the sponsors—the Wood River Land Trust and Citizens for Smart Growth—was to review how TDRs could function as a component of growth management in the city.

Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant said at a special city council goal setting meeting earlier in the day, Thursday, Jan. 29, that she is not interested in government setting the TDR ordinance.

Her concern is that if a TDR ordinance is initiated by the city, it would appear that the city was bending to the will of special interest groups.

"I have been to enough TDR meetings," she said. McBryant said she wants to see the push for a TDR ordinance come from a grassroots initiative.

The meeting at the Wood River Land Trust involved developers, concerned citizens, Hailey Parks and Lands Board members, landscape architects, Tom Smith, executive director of the Hailey Chamber of Commerce, Tom Hellen, city engineer, and real estate brokers.

The group heard a presentation about how TDRs work and determined that the advisory board needed to be formed to help draft a plan for an ordinance that could be presented to the city.

Under a TDR program, development rights are transferred from areas designated for protection (sending zones) to areas designated for future growth (receiving zones). The transfer of development rights from a sending zone to a receiving zone occurs when a landowner, typically a developer, proposes an increase in density on a particular piece of land through an "up zone" or an increase in density which normally accompanies an annexation request.

Receiving zones don’t necessarily have to be on the same property where the community wants to protect land. But, the scenarios are so various that TDR advocate Scott Boettger, executive director of the Wood River Land Trust, hopes a "Phantom Ranch" could be used to show the outcome of a transfer.

"Better yet would be a real developer who would choose to be an example," Boettger said.

He explained that in Aspen a cap was put on the size of construction in the Estate Home Market. A TDR program there was used to protect open space by allowing developers to pay money for the right to add square feet above the cap.

A variation of the scenario could involve the establishment of a land bank; property with development rights that developers could exchange more sensitive lands for.

Blaine County Planning and Zoning commissioner Lawrence Schoen, said the group could quickly pull together language for an ordinance from the county’s ordinance that is complete.

"The county ordinance is a starting point," he said.

"Hailey is the best shot for a transfer of development rights ordinance," Boettger said. "An awful lot has been done already to (establish) receiving areas. What I hear about the city of Hailey is hopeful (for protecting open space)."




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