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Queen Anne’s County, Maryland

Queen Anne’s County, population 40,563 (2000), lies on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay approximately 70 miles east of Washington, D.C. and 70 miles southwest of Wilmington, Delaware. Except for subdivisions on Kent Island, located in the center of the Chesapeake Bay, Queen Anne’s County is primarily rural, composed of farms and wooded areas.

In 1987, the County amended its zoning code and included provisions for TDR. This original program used a one-to-one transfer ratio and allowed land in the Agriculture zone to be a receiving site as well as a sending site. Receiving site projects were limited to residential developments in three zoning districts.

As summarized in Beyond Takings and Givings, in 1993, the County adopted a new Comprehensive Plan. One year later, the zoning code underwent major revisions and the TDR components were amended. The sending sites remained land in the Agriculture and Countryside zoning districts. But the potential receiving sites were expanded to include land in any district except the Agriculture and Neighborhood Conservation districts; in addition, non-residential as well as residential developments were able to use TDR. Standards for receiving site projects were revamped to provide incentives to use TDR. And transfer ratios were established, specifying the amount of land which must be deed-restricted in the Agriculture and Countryside districts to generate a transferable development right.

In a letter of April 2005, Megan DelGaudio, at the request of Planning Director Faith Elliott-Rossing, reported that the County adopted a new Zoning Ordinance in January 2004 that resulted in some changes to the TDR process as described in Beyond Takings and Givings. These changes fall into the six categories described below.

1) TDRs used on receiving parcels in two zoning districts and the Stevensville Growth Area must come from sending sites within the County’s Fourth Election District (Kent Island).

2) Once TDRs have been transferred, the sending site is deemed open space and limited to the uses allowed by code to open space. Sending sites must also be at least 20 acres in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area or 24 acres in size elsewhere or 1/2 of the size of the lot of record and meet the following criteria: a) At least half in Class I, II or III soils; b) If wooded, at least half in Woodland Group 1 or 2; c) If unable to meet criteria a or b individually, at least 60 percent of the site must be a combination of Class I, II or III soils and Group 1 or 2 woodlands. d) Plats must show location of all existing buildings.

3) Numerous procedural clarifications were made in the code sections on “Certificate of Planning Director”, “Instruments of Transfer” and “Consideration of Application for Use”.

4) Eligible receiving areas were expanded to include every zone in the County’s growth areas.

5) In the AG zone, one TDR per eight acres can be generated, an increase from the previous one TDR per four acre rate.

6) Queen Anne’s County also allows TDRs to increase non-residential floor area. The bonuses remain unchanged for TDRs from two sending area zones: a) 1,000 square feet of floor area and 2,500 square feet of impervious surface area transferable for each 20 acres preserved in the CS zone within the Critical Resource Conservation Area; and b) 200 square feet of floor area and 500 square feet of impervious area transferred for each five acres preserved in the CS zone outside the Critical Resource Conservation Area. But now receiving areas must preserve eight rather than four acres in the AG District to receive a receiving area bonus of 200 square feet of floor area and 500 square feet of impervious area.

The April 2005 update indicates substantial use of the TDR mechanism since the statistics reported in Beyond Takings and Givings in 2003.

  • Number of acres preserved so far by TDR: 2,644 acres
  • Number of transfer parcels lifted: 287
  • Number of transfer parcels received or used: 248
  • Number of TDRs held for future use: 39