Bay Harbor Islands, Florida

The Town of Bay Harbor Islands, population 5,628 (2010), is located on two islands with a total size of 240 acres created from mangrove swamps in Biscayne Bay, two miles north of Miami Beach. The Town’s TDR program allows the owners of donor sites to transfer unused development potential to receiving sites in order to achieve desirable development projects as approved by the Town Council.

Donor parcels must be located within one of five zoning districts on the town’s East Island and be approved as a donor site by the Town Council. The development rights available for transfer from a donor parcel are calculated by multiplying the applicable future land use map (FLUM) maximum density by the site size and subtracting dwelling units that the owner wishes to retain on the site.

Receiving parcels must also be located within six zoning districts on the East Island and approved by the Town. The base density allowed on the receiving parcels is determined by the FLUM and the Town Council allocates the bonus development rights in accordance with the provisions of the TDR code section. The Town Council requires the donor and receiving parcel developments to meet as many current code requirements as possible including provisions of the codes related to zoning, landscaping, signage, and building maintenance. Upon approval of the transfer, deed restrictions are recorded that limit the future development of the donor and receiving parcels.

The TDR code section also authorizes the Town to establish and maintain a bank to allocate development rights that promote “…the types and location of desired development and redevelopment within the town.”

As an example of a transaction, in 2007, a transfer was approved from a donor site capable of a maximum of 13 units but occupied by an eight-unit condominium built in 1959. The unused potential for five additional units was transferred to a receiving parcel, allowing construction of a 14-unit condominium building. The condominium owners association for the donor parcel planned to use the $360,000 in proceeds from the sale of the five development rights to make renovations in the common areas of the 48-year old building.   

In 2011, the Town adopted minor amendments to the TDR provisions at Section 23-22.2 of its Code. For example, the revisions provide for additional hotel/motel rooms to be computed using a conversion factor of 0.486 dwelling units.