Chico, the most populous city in Butte County, California, population 86,103 (2010), lies 90 miles north of Sacramento in the fertile Sacramento River Valley. It is home to Chico State University and Bidwell Park, one of the largest municipally-owned parks in the US and occupying 17 percent of the City’s total land area. The City has observed a “green line” separating the urban area from the agricultural land to the west which is largely planted in almond and walnut orchards. In 1999, the City adopted a TDR ordinance designed to redirect development from environmentally significant lands.
The Chico TDR code allows the number of dwelling units which could potentially be developed on a sending site to be transferred to a receiving site, thereby increasing the maximum density otherwise allowed to the receiving site by the general plan and zoning code. Transfers in this program must be approved using the planned development, specific plan or development agreement process. Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed sending parcels should be conserved and that the receiving sites are capable of accommodating the additional density proposed. TDR allocation is calculated by multiplying the number of dwelling units per gross acre allowed by the sending site’s zoning classification times the site’s acreage.