Hereford, Pennsylvania

Hereford Township, population 3,174 (2000), is located in the eastern corner of Berks County, roughly 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Although still largely rural, Hereford is vulnerable to growth given its highway accessibility and its location in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area. In 2009, Hereford included a TDR mechanism in a new zoning ordinance designed to preserve farmland, sensitive natural areas and rural community character by transferring development potential to areas served by community facilities and infrastructure.

In Hereford, sending areas must be ten acres in size if located in the AP-Agricultural Preservation District or 15 acres in size if located in the RC-Rural Conservation District. To determine the number of TDRs available at a sending site, the net TDR acreage is calculated by starting with the gross acreage of the site and deducting the land area subject to existing permanent easements, sewage disposal facilities serving off-site properties, floodplains, alluvial soils, slopes greater than 25 percent and Superfund hot spots. The maximum TDRs available are established by multiplying the net TDR acreage by 0.5 in the AP District and by 0.25 in the RC District. Sending site owners must retain TDRs for existing dwellings or one TDR for a future dwelling if no dwellings currently exist on the sending site. Owners may sell some or all of the remaining TDRs.

Preservation of sending sites is accomplished by an easement held either by the Township or a conservation organization such as the Berks County Conservancy. Upon the recording of a Deed of Transferable development Rights, TDRs are severed from the site. However, TDRs can be transferred back to a property from which they have been severed as long as this reattachment does not give the site more TDRs than it had originally and as long as the TDRs come from the same zoning district.

Hereford allows TDRs to be transferred to the RC, MU-Mixed Use or I-Industrial districts. In the RC District, receiving sites must be eligible to use the Conservation Design Option. The base density is the net land area multiplied by 0.2. One additional dwelling unit is allowed per transferred TDR and the maximum density allowed under the TDR option is the net land area times 0.33.

In the MU District, single-use developments and non-residential multi-use developments can use TDRs to gain additional lot coverage and building height at the following ratios: 4,000 square feet of additional lot coverage per TDR or 4,000 square feet of floor area for building stories that exceed baseline height. Multi-use developments with a residential component may increase density above baseline by transferring one TDR to gain 1.25 single-family detached dwellings, 1.75 duplex/townhouse units or 2.25 apartment units.

In the I-Industrial District, developments can use TDRs to increase lot coverage and exceed building height at the ratios stated above for such developments in the MU District.