Avon, Connecticut

The Town of Avon, population 18,302 (2019), lies ten miles west of downtown Hartford, Connecticut. A ridgeline, which includes Talcott Mountain State Park, defines the eastern border of the Town and the West Branch of the Farmington River forms the western boundary. The East Fork of the Farmington River meanders within a wide floodplain that retains substantial rural character on the east side of Town.

The Town’s TDR ordinance is designed to preserve significant natural resources and open space in areas designated on the zoning map. The largest of several mapped sending areas lies east of the Farmington Valley Greenway, north and south of Old Farms Road, just west of the Farmington River floodplain, and Fisher Meadows Recreation Area. The Farmington Valley Greenway is a paved bike path on a former railroad right of way that extends for 26 miles through five towns in central Connecticut.

To become a sending site, a parcel must be permanently restricted against all future development.  Following the recordation of this restriction, the sending site may be used for agriculture, open space, and forestry consistent with a Forest Management Plan prepared by a licensed forester.

The number of TDRs available for transfer at a sending site is calculated by deducting from total parcel size the number of acres of wetlands, steep slopes, and floodplains. The remaining developable acreage is then multiplied by four to determine the TDRs available for transfer.

Potential receiving areas are designated on the Town’s zoning map. The largest receiving area is located near the town center in an area served by two major highways. In receiving site projects, baseline density is calculated by deducting from total site acreage all land in wetlands, steep slopes, and floodplains. The remaining developable acreage is multiplied by four units per acre to determine base density. To exceed base density, developers must produce one TDR per bonus unit up to a maximum of eight units per acre. In addition, receiving site projects must comply with special criteria for building design and landscaping. Specifically, the architecture and scale must be compatible with site surroundings. Landscaping must be designed to buffer the project, provide an appearance of reduced density, and enhance aesthetics.

The 2016 Plan of Conservation and Development reported that the 2007 TDR mechanism has never been used and recommends consideration of increasing the transfer ratio, reducing the minimum lot size of receiving sites, and expanding the receiving area in an effort to preserve a meaningful amount of farmland.