Gilpin County, population 5,441 (2000) lies roughly 20 miles west of Denver. Over half of the county’s land area is owned and managed by state and federal agencies, principally in the Arapahoe & Roosevelt National Forests and Golden Gate Canyon State Park. As a result, the county does not believe it is necessary to duplicate these efforts. Nevertheless, the county general plan aims to preserve privately-owned open space, with priority for: land accessible from state and county roads, highly visible lands within identified viewsheds; backcountry lands with existing access; areas adjacent to waterways; and parking areas serving trailheads. The general plan lists several means of accomplishing this preservation including TDR.
The TDR portion of Gilpin County’s zoning code, Section 3.5, has two procedures depending on the nature of the sending site. Remote Acreage is defined as land detached from the receiving site and located within unincorporated Gilpin County. In contrast, a Remote Building Site is an existing parcel containing a development right that is detached from the receiving site.
A receiving site can achieve a density of up to one unit per five acres by permanently preserving enough remote acreage to achieve the maximum density allowed on the receiving site when the acreages of sending and receiving sites are combined. For example, if the sending and receiving sites are zoned Resource Residential (RR), with a minimum lot size of 20 acres, a 10 acre receiving site could be approved for two five acre lots if a sending site of 30 acres of RR land is restricted from future development. (30 acres plus 10 acres = 40 acres divided by the RR minimum lot size of 20 acres.)
When a receiving site is approved for higher density by preserving a remote building site, the density bonuses vary depending on the nature of the sending site. Maximum density with a transfer is one unit per five acres.
- One receiving development right per one sending right originating from a vacant RS lot deemed buildable and greater than one quarter acre.
- One receiving development right per one sending right originating from a vacant lot deemed buildable and greater than one quarter acre visible from four specified roadways.
- One half receiving development right per one sending right originating from any vacant lot deemed buildable and greater than one quarter acre.
For example, a 10-acre receiving site zoned RR (minimum lot size 20 acres) could be allowed two five acre lots by permanently preserving a sending site and transferring one sending site right.
TDRs are approved and transferred at Preliminary Plat approval. Unused TDRs approved as part of a specific project cannot be banked or traded.