Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2008

HJR 195: Joint Subcommittee Studying Transfer of Development Rights

July 14, 2008

The Joint Subcommittee Studying Transfer of Development Rights held its initial meeting in Richmond on July 14, 2008. Delegate Matthew J. Lohr was elected chair and Senator Mark D. Obenshain was elected vice-chair.


Section 15.2-2316.1 of the Code of Virginia defines transfer of development rights (TDR) as the process by which development rights from a sending property are affixed to one or more receiving properties. Virginia's TDR statutes were enacted in 2006 but have not yet been utilized by any Virginia locality. HJR 195 instructs the joint subcommittee to "examine ways in which the existing TDR legislation may be modified to make it more appealing to localities."

The members of the joint subcommittee will examine the following issues:

  • Establishment of a bank of credits that can be sold in advance of a developer needing to purchase them for a rezoning.
  • Incentives for farmers to purchase additional farmland with the money they receive from selling development credits.
  • Specific benefits developers would gain by participating in the TDR program.
  • Use of a statewide system of development credits.


Lindsay Potts, Virginia Farm Bureau
Lindsay Potts noted that Virginia has seen significant farmland acreage lost to development in recent years and that large additional amounts of farmland are currently at risk due to the amount of land expected to transfer ownership in the next 10 years. Ms. Potts stated that the Farm Bureau would like to see the TDR statutes improved to provide a more consistent process for the transfer of development rights, including the creation of a development rights "bank" and the ability of a property owner to work through localities rather than a developer in transferring the rights.

Ted McCormack, Virginia Association of Counties
Ted McCormack stated that there is much interest in the TDR program among localities. Mr. McCormack also agreed that authorization of a TDR bank would be one of the most important issues in determining whether the TDR program would be successfully utilized. He also noted that TDRs are just one of several tools that can be used to preserve farmland.

Barrett Hardiman, Home Builders Association of Virginia (HBAV)
Barrett Hardiman informed the members that although his association was historically opposed to TDRs, it did not object to the current TDR law because of certain protections built into the law. Specifically, the HBAV wants to assure that the TDR program continues to be optional for developers, that the transfer process is a simplified, nonpolitical administrative process, and that the transferred rights retain perpetual protection.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the joint subcommittee will be Friday, September 5, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in House Room C of the General Assembly Building.

The Hon. Matthew Lohr

For information, contact:
Jeff Sharp, DLS Staff

Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2008

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