Brookhaven, New York

The Town of Brookhaven, population 480,000 is located in Suffolk County on the south side of Long Island. It has many recreational amenities including Bellport Bay and nearby Fire Island National Seashore. It is also home to several major institutions including the Brookhaven National Laboratory as well as Stony Brook University and Health Sciences Center. Given its proximity to New York City, it has also been subject to extreme growth pressure. In 2005, Brookhaven adopted a TDR program designed to preserve natural resources, open space, historic properties and farmland as well as acquire development rights from landowners who experience economic hardship as a result of zoning and environmental restrictions.

The 2005 ordinance establishes a TDR Clearinghouse authorized to buy TDRs and hold them for future disposition. Funding for these acquisitions can come from Town appropriations or borrowing.

Section 85-408.4 creates a separate TDR program to address an excess of strip commercial development. This second TDR program encourages the elimination of abandoned and underutilized commercial centers by allowing one bonus housing unit to be created in appropriately-located residential developments for each 1,000 square feet of abandoned or underutilized commercial floor area demolished. Residential development rights may not be transferred out of the school district of the sending site without approval by a super-majority of the Town Board. TDRs are not required for the adaptive reuse of commercial centers or for developments in which all of the dwelling units are affordable or workforce housing. The qualifying receiving projects must be located in the Multiple Family, Planned Retirement Community and Planned Retirement Congregate Housing Community districts. This code section states that all developments must comply with all other aspects of these three districts.

Developers have the option of complying with TDR requirements by making an in lieu payment. The in lieu payment must be sufficient to pay all Town expenses expected to be incurred in the process of securing the required number of development rights.