East Nottingham, Pennsylvania

East Nottingham Township, population 5,516, is located in southwestern Chester County, roughly 45 miles west of downtown Philadelphia. The Township is still largely agricultural and many of its lanowners have participated in various farmland preservation programs.

East Nottingham uses TDR to preserve farmland and rural community character.

The Township has adopted a TDR program designed to preserve prime farmland and rural community character. Sending sites must be located within the R-1 Agricultural-Residential District, which covers roughly three fourths of the Township’s land area. Owners of parcels in the R-1 can choose to preserve all or part of their land, subject to a five-acre minimum size, through the recordation of a permanent conservation easement limiting the use of the land to agriculture, agriculturally-related uses or open space uses.

The number of TDRs available for transfer from a sending site is calculated by subtracting the following from gross tract area: 1) one acre for each dwelling unit, 2) the actual acreage of all non-farm uses, and 3) the acreage already restricted against development by covenant, easement or deed restriction. The remainder is multiplied by 0.7 to determine the number of TDRs that the sending site owner can transfer following recordation of permanent development restrictions. A ten percent bonus is applied when owners elect to sever all development rights in a single transaction. When all development rights are severed from a parcel, the owner must record a conservation easement that limits use of the property to agriculture, agriculturally-related uses, public park land, conservation and similar open space uses permitted in the R-1. The easement must also prohibit future land divisions that would create lots for non-farm dwellings.

Receiving sites allowing bonus residential density can be approved in four zoning districts and receiving sites allowing increased non-residential intensity can be approved in four other zones. Each of these eight districts establishes maximum density or intensity limits applicable when the TDR option is used. The bonus residential development allowed per TDR varies depending on the nature of the bonus dwelling unit: one TDR yields 1.0 single family detached dwelling unit, 1.25 two-family, townhouse or quadraplex dwelling units or 1.5 apartment units. For non-residential development, one TDR allows 2,500 square feet of lot coverage or 2,500 square feet of floor area in excess of baseline building height limits. The code allows, through conditional use permit approval, projects incorporating 20 or more TDRs to receive modifications to area and bulk requirements if they meet five criteria.