Crystal River, Florida

The City of Crystal River, population 3,700, is located just east of the Crystal River Preserve State Park and the Crystal River Historic Memorial 75 miles north of Tampa in Citrus County on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The City proclaims itself as the Home of the Manatee and roughly 400 of these large marine mammals winter in Kings Bay, the headwaters of the Crystal River. The manatees are attracted to the constant temperatures of the Three Sisters Spring, actually a trio of springs that feed Kings Bay. It has become increasingly popular for people to visit the Three Sisters Springs by canoe and kayak to view and interact with the manatees. However, the private-owned land surrounding the Three Sisters has already been significantly altered and is currently threatened by additional development. In 2009, the City adopted a TDR ordinance designed to preserve the Three Sisters parcel by transferring density to appropriate sites elsewhere in the city.

This TDR program uses a mechanism called “planned development with transfer of development rights”, or PD-TDR. The sending site is the Three Sisters Springs parcel. The number of development rights available for transfer is the maximum density allowable under the future land use designation and zoning code minus “approved entitlements.”

All other parcels in the City can serve as the receiving sites via the planned development process as long as the proposed receiving developments comply with the City’s requirements for planned developments, are consistent with the Future Land Use Element and are determined to be viable for increased density following a review of infrastructure capacity, environmental sensitivity and compatibility with surrounding land uses.

Upon approval of an application, the receiving site is granted additional residential units as determined through the PD process and rezoned PD-TDR. The sending site is rezoned as coastal preservation and protected as a conservation area.