Osceola County, Florida

Osceola County, population 287,000 (2012), is located just south of Orlando, Florida surrounding the City of Kissimmee, the county seat and largest city. Tourism is a major component of the county’s economy given Disney World and other nearby attractions. However, the county has retained many ranches and citrus groves and the county is studded with lakes, wetlands and other significant natural areas.

In 2007, Osceola County adopted a comprehensive plan with a goal of using TDC to preserve farmland, natural areas and open space as well as create greenbelts between cities and developments throughout the unincorporated portions of the county. The plan specifies that the TDC program require developers to use TDC when they build at densities below minimum densities as well as above without-TDC maximum densities. The plan also clarifies that the receiving areas should be within the urban growth boundary and that the sending areas should be outside this boundary and granted one TDC per 2.5 acres of permanently preserved land. Developers would be able to buy TDCs directly from sending area property owners or from the County at an annually adjusted price. The plan is not clear about whether the county will buy actual TDCs and hold them for resale, (acting as a traditional TDC bank), or whether a density transfer fund is envisioned, meaning the County would buy TDCs after receiving payment from receiving area developers.

The TDC policy of the comprehensive plan was implemented in 2012 by the adoption of Ordinance 12-28, subsequently amended in 2013 and 2014. The sending areas can transfer one TDC per acre of developable land placed under easement minus any retained TDCs and TDCs previously transferred. After a sending site has been continuously maintained in agricultural use for 20 years, the owner may re-list TDCs as though the property is a new sending site. In addition, sending sites can receive bonus TDCs based on the following criteria:

  • 0.5 bonus TDCs per base TDC for each ten years that a sending site has been in continuous bona fide agricultural use.
  • 0.5 bonus TDCs per base TDC for sending sites within military influence zones
  • 0.5 bonus TDCs per base TDC for sending sites within designated historic/cultural sending areas

In receiving zones, the ordinance requires a prescribed number of TDCs for each dwelling unit below the minimum density for the zone in question and the without-TDC maximum density for each zone. The requirements differ depending on whether the receiving area is within the Urban Infill area or the Urban Expansion area of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) as shown below.

Above without-TDC maximum Below minimum density
Max Bonus TDCs per DU Max reduction TDCs per DU
Urban Infill 150% 1 75% 2
U. Expansion 175% 1 80% 3