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“Partnering to Preserve Farmland in Hiram Township With Transfer of Development Rights” 2008 Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit Lynne J. Erickson, AICP, Director Portage County Regional Planning Commission October 2, 2008

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“Partnering to Preserve Farmland in Hiram Township With Transfer of Development Rights” 2008 Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit

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“Partnering to Preserve Farmland in Hiram Township With Transfer of Development Rights”2008 Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit

Lynne J. Erickson, AICP, Director

Portage County Regional Planning Commission

October 2, 2008

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Partnering to Preserve Farmland in Hiram Township With Transfer of Development Rights

  • Background

  • Process Overview

  • TDR Feasibility Study Findings

  • TDR Legislation and Program Components

  • Next Steps

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Hiram Township, Portage County

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Protecting Hiram Twp. Farmland

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Hiram Protected Areas

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Hiram Comprehensive Plan

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Hiram Comprehensive Plan

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Hiram Comprehensive PlanScenic Resources

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Hiram 2020 Comprehensive PlanKey Issues Identified

  • Manage Growth, Preserve Small Town and Rural Character

  • Preserve and Protect Farmland and Open Space, Scenic Resources

  • Prefer conservation type development in Twp.

  • Commercial and residential development in Village-traditional pattern.

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Preserve a majority of the agricultural land base in the Township for future generations.

Encourage sustainable economic growth of the Village.

“Township and Village will develop a Transfer of Development Rights Program..”

Land in Primary Agricultural Conservation Area will be sending area from which development rights will be sent to designated receiving areas in the Village.

Village High Density Areas-densities of 6-8 Dwelling units/acre permitted ONLY with transferable development rights

Hiram 2020 Comprehensive Plan Selected Goals and Strategies

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Testing TDR Feasibility in Hiram Village and Township

  • The OSU Center for Farmland Policy Innovation-Farmland Protection Partnership Program

  • PCRPC worked with Comp Plan partners to write grant

  • Hiram Village awarded grant-$58,900

  • Partner Contributions-$31,300

  • 18 month project

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Hiram TDR Project Key Components

  • Organize for TDR Program Support-Citizens Advisory Committee formed in May 2007

  • Conduct Feasibility Study/Market Analysis

  • Development of Implementing Policies, Legislation and Procedures

  • Public Outreach and Education

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TDR Feasibility Study and Market Analysis Phase

  • Rick Pruetz, FAICP, nationally renowned TDR expert was contracted to do study

  • TDR Program Component Options Presented to Citizens Advisory Committee and Community in October and December 2007

  • Final TDR Feasibility Study-January 2008

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Study Conclusions

TDR can save 1,000 acres of farmland

TDR and other tools can save 5,000 acres

Program would be feasible and successful if TDRs are required of all bonus units

Proposals based on feedback and attempt to

  • Keep it simple

  • Use limited TDRs wisely

  • Focus on primary goals

    Four basic program components

  • Eligible sending sites

  • Easement requirements

  • TDR allocations

  • Receiving areas

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Hiram Success Factors

  • Experience with preservation and landowner interest in additional preservation

  • Experience with tools similar to TDR

  • Potential for affordable TDRs

  • Easement value uniformity should keep program simple

  • Desire for Village-Township cooperation

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Inter-jurisdictional Approach

Legislation proposes both Village and Township accept TDRs

Independent Township program could work

Program would work better if Village participated

  • Take advantage of existing community and infrastructure

  • Create pedestrian-friendly, sustainable development

  • Village and Township both benefit from preservation of farmland

    • Agricultural economy

    • Food security

    • Rural character

    • Scenic resources

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Main Legislation Components

Township and Village legislation have identical sending site provisions

  • Sending sites eligibility

  • Easement requirements

  • TDR allocations

    Receiving areas in Village form when sites are upzoned to implement Comp Plan with existing zoning districts

    New PD zone proposed for receiving sites in Township

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Eligible TDR Sending Sites

Eligibility Criteria

  • Township RR Zone

  • Currently farmed (CAUV)

  • Minimum 25 acres (sometimes 20)

  • Not already preserved

  • When located in two zoning districts, RR portion must be at least 25 acres


  • Simple

  • Targets active farmland

  • Large enough to farm but too big for most estate lots

  • Maximizes participation

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Easement Requirements

Proposed Easement

  • Prevents any land division

  • Allows “agricultural uses” per Township Zoning Regs (farming, dairying, pasturage, agriculture, viticulture, animal and poultry husbandry; and forestry and forest products)

  • Allows one dwelling on site

  • If only part of qualifying parcel is zoned RR, easement does not apply to non-RR portion


  • Simple

  • Certainty of perpetual preservation

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TDR Allocation Rate

Proposed Rate

  • One TDR for each 2.5 acres of all land in the parcel

  • Plus 1 TDR/ 10 acres in excess of 25 acres

  • Plus 1 TDR/400 feet of public road frontage

  • Only land subject to easement produces TDRs (only RR)


  • Simple

  • Sufficient to motivate landowners

  • Same as RR zone (1/2.5 acres)

  • Bonus for larger parcels

  • Save valuable frontages

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Village Receiving Sites

  • All upzoned parcels in Village

  • Maximum density of prior zoning is baseline density of new zoning

  • Units exceeding baseline are bonus

  • Developers must acquire one TDR for

    • Each bonus single family unit

    • Each 1.5 bonus units in two-family building

    • Each 2.0 bonus units in multi-family building

    • Allowance doubles for developments filed prior to TDR ordinance first reading

  • Alternative compliance: $10,000 in lieu of each TDR otherwise required

  • Maximum density limited by new TDR receiving zone

  • Maximum density consistent with Comp Plan

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Village Receiving Site Example

  • 10-acre Village site zoned R-2, maximum density two units per acre

  • Planned and appropriate for medium density, four units per acre

  • If appropriate, site re-zoned R-2/R-3: developers who chose to exceed two units per acre must meet TDR requirements and R-3 regulations

  • Assume developer wants to build 40 units

  • 20 units are baseline (10 acres X 2 units/acre)

  • 20 units are bonus units requiring one TDR or $10,000 in lieu of each TDR

  • 20 TDRs would preserve one 40-acre farm with 1,000 feet of road frontage

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Township Receiving Areas

Township draft resolution proposes new Planned Development Overlay Zone

  • Allows exemplary projects that serve as receiving areas

  • Preserves farmland

  • Promotes community and sense of place

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Proposed PD Overlay

Minimum 20% on site open space

Commercial, recreational, institutional and public uses can be approved if compatible with predominantly residential use

PD zone has its own development requirements

Special environmental review process

TDR requirement

  • Baseline density: one unit/2.5 acres

  • All units above baseline are bonus, subject to TDR

    Zoning Commission is not obligated to approve PDs or to allow maximum density permitted by PD

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Example: TDR Requirement in PD Overlay Zone

Assume 12.5-acre PD

  • 2.5 acres open space (20%)

  • 10-acre residential development site

  • Baseline density (one unit per 2.5 acres) allows four dwelling units

  • Assume PD approval would allow two units per acre yielding 20 dwelling units

  • 16 units are bonus and subject to TDR requirements (if all single-family dwellings, 16 TDRs required)

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Payment in Lieu

Developers can choose to pay $10,000 in lieu of each TDR required

Assures developers of ability to comply

Should not interfere with average private negotiations

Proceeds used primarily to buy easements from eligible sending sites

Can fund administration

Can be matched with other funds to leverage preservation dollars

Amount adjusts automatically each year based on percent change in median housing value in Portage County

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Reactive and Proactive

Reactive: Draft legislation allows Village and Township to respond to developer proposals

Proactive: Village and/or Township can work with developers, landowners and public to plan and ultimately rezone ideal receiving sites one at a time

  • Intensive public input yields greater consensus

  • Developers and public gain greater certainty about location and design of future growth

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TDR Administration

Legislation calls for appointment of TDR Manager to administer program

  • Employee of Hiram Village, Township, Portage County or other government agency

  • Tasks often assigned to existing staff position

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If adopted as drafted, TDR legislation would help preserve farmland and benefit residents of Village and Township (food security, scenic resources, rural character, quality of life)

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Next Steps

  • Work with Village and Township to implement legislation

  • Finalize Administrative Procedures

  • Await first transfers

  • Evaluate

  • Adjust program as needed

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Selected Resources

  • Rick Pruetz, FAICP, arje@attglobal.net

  • Saved by Development: Preserving Environmental Areas, Farmland and Historic Landmarks With Transfer of Development Rights by Rick Pruetz, AICP

  • Beyond Givings and Takings: Saving Natural Areas, Farmland and Historic Landmarks with Transfer of Development Rights and Density Transfer Changes, Rick Pruetz, AICP http://www.beyondtakingsandgivings.com/tdr.htm

  • Holding Our Ground: Protecting America’s Farms and Farmland by Tom Daniels and Deborah Bowers

  • Transfer of Development Rights: A Flexible Option for Redirecting Growth in Pennsylvania by Brandywine Conservancy Environmental Management Center http://www.brandywineconservancy.org/

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Lynne J. Erickson, AICP, Director

Portage County Regional Planning Commission

124 N. Prospect St.

Ravenna, OH 44266



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