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Atlanta TDR Margaret Mitchell House 9490 WestLampeter San-Diego-Receiving-Zone South-Street-Seaport-154 San-Francisco-Actual-Certified-Sending-Site-635-Pine jefferson West_Hempfield HistoricDowntown

Lake County, Florida

The Wekiva River is a relatively pristine tributary of the St. John’s River in central Florida. The River is spring fed and its floodplain supports a hardwood forest providing habitat for an array of wildlife including water orchids, tri-colored heron, wood stork and other threatened/endangered species. The State of Florida has named the Wekiva River as an Outstanding Florida Water and a State Canoe Trail. The federal government has designated the Wekiva as a Wild and Scenic River.

Lake County uses TDR to help protect the Wekiva River, a pristine tributary of the St. John’s River that is federally-designated as a Wild and Scenic River and named as an Outstanding Florida Water and State Canoe Trail.

The Wekiva River forms part of the border between Seminole and Lake Counties. Lake County, population 307,243 (2008), lies only 25 miles north of downtown Orlando via Interstate 4 and is consequently in the path of urban development. In 1990, Lake County adopted a transfer of development rights program in support of the Wekiva River Protection Area. This 2009 update of the Lake County profile incorporates changes made to the TDR ordinance in 2004, following the publication of Beyond Takings and Givings in 2003.

The number of TDRs available for transfer is calculated by multiplying gross acreage of a sending site by the zoning in effect prior to adoption of the TDR ordinance. To qualify for TDRs, a covenant is recorded that permanently limits the sending property to those uses allowed in the Wekiva River Protection Area Overlay Districts. The transfer ratio is one-to-one, meaning that one bonus unit is permitted at a receiving site for each unit precluded at a sending site.

The program identifies two sending areas. Sending Area Number One lies within the Wekiva River Protection Area as well as the Wekiva River Hydrologic Basin Protection Zone. Within this sending area, parcels can achieve a maximum density of one unit per 40 acres without participating in a Development Point Rating System. The Rating System awards points for desirable development measures and environmental protections including additional open space, pervious paving, buffers for sensitive areas, clustering, support for wildlife corridors and the use of the Planned Unit Development process. Points are also awarded when a developer purchases a sufficient number of TDRs. When a development exceeds 120 points, maximum density can increase to one unit per 10 acres in Sending Area Number One.

Sending Area Number Two lies within the Wekiva River Protection Area but outside the Wekiva River Hydrologic Basin Protection Zone, outside the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento Urban Compact Node and outside Receiving Area Number One. This sending area limits development to a maximum density of one unit per 20 acres which can be increased to a maximum density of one unit per five acres through the point system described above.

Receiving Area Number One lies outside Sending Areas One and Two and the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento Urban Compact Node. Baseline density here is one unit per 20 acres but may increase to a maximum of one unit per five acres using the Point System and up to one unit per acre when using both the Point System plus TDRs from Sending Areas One and Two.

Receiving Area Number Two is the Mount Plymouth-Sorrento Urban Compact Node. Here, baseline is the maximum density permitted by the underlying zoning in effect prior to adoption of the TDR ordinance. Development can exceed this baseline and achieve a  achieve maximum density of 5.5 units per acre using TDRs from Sending Areas One and Two through the use of the County’s R-1-6 zoning district, the RP (residential professional district) or the Planned Unit Development process.

The Lake County TDR program has been an integral part of the overall Wekiva River protections, which have reduced the pace of development along the Wekiva River. These protections have allowed the State of Florida to acquire land in the protection area. These purchases were helped by the reduced property evaluations which resulted from the development restrictions imposed along the river. The compensation potential offered by TDR was at least partly responsible for the ability to impose additional land use restrictions in the Wekiva River Protection Area.

As reported in Beyond Takings and Givings, developers of some potential receiving sites can achieve the densities they want without the added density allowed via TDR. In addition, transfers require multiple hearings to approve rezonings on both the sending and receiving sites; these requirements discourage property owners and developers from using TDR. In 2000, Jeff Richardson, Chief Planner, reported that the formal TDR ordinance had not been used. The State of Florida had been buying considerable property in the Wekiva River Basin and the remaining owners of private land apparently had little interest in the TDR incentives at that time. However, on two occasions, the County tried to resolve land use disputes outside the Wekiva River Basin using an ad hoc transfer approach. Specifically, negotiations were conducted with a developer who could benefit from increased densities by buying TDRs from a property owner faced with development constraints. Richardson reports that this ad hoc process was successful in one of the two cases.