Okeechobee County, Florida

Okeechobee County, population 39,996 (2010), extends north from the northern shore of Lake Okeechobee in central Florida. In 1992, Okeechobee County adopted TDR provisions designed to preserve wetlands and uplands containing critical habitat.

Section 4.03.00 of Okeechobee County’s Land Development Regulations allow the transfer of all of the development potential authorized by the comprehensive plan to wetlands and to uplands containing critical habitat of endangered, threatened or species of special concern as determined by the State of Florida or the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The development rights are deemed appurtenant to the sending site for taxation purposes until the receiving site development is approved, at which time they attach to the receiver parcel.

The receiving sites must be located within residential zoning districts in the urban residential area as designated by the future land use map. One development right from a wetland allows three bonus dwelling units per acre while one TDR from an upland area containing critical habitat allows four bonus units per acre.  If the County determines that allowing the maximum density resulting from a transfer would result in undue negative impacts on public health, safety or welfare, the County can limit the bonus development granted to a receiving site project.

The program has generated no transfers because of insufficient demand for bonus density according to The Use of Transfer of Development Rights to Manage Growth: The Adoption and Performance of Florida County TDR Programs, a 2012 dissertation by Evangeline R. Linkous.