Lee, New Hampshire

The Town of Lee, population 4,330 (2010), is located in eastern New Hampshire, twelve miles west of Portsmouth and 20 miles west of the Atlantic Coast. Its TDR program is designed to encourage the preservation of farmland, open space, forest, watershed and other significant natural resources as well as retain the rural character of the Town. The TDR code section, Article XII of the Zoning Ordinance, remains unchanged since its adoption in 1994. Consequently, this profile is identical to the case study that appeared in Beyond Takings and Givings in 2003.


Under the Lee TDR ordinance, sending and receiving sites must be contiguous. The sending site must be under private ownership. When a conservation easement or similar permanent restriction is recorded on the sending site, a corresponding increase in density is permitted on the receiving site. The density allowed on the receiving parcel may not exceed the density allowed considering the total land area of both the sending and receiving parcels. With the exception of density, receiving site projects must meet all code requirements. The Planning Board has the right to determine a case on an individual basis considering the specific natural characteristics and resource values of both the sending and receiving parcels.

Program Status

In August 2001, Allen Dennis, Planning, Zoning & Code Enforcement Official, reported that the TDR code section had not yet been used. He added that use of the program may be hampered because there are few receiving areas that can use TDRs.