Springfield Town, Dane County, Wisconsin

The Town of Springfield, population approximately 2,900 (2020), is one of 61 towns, villages and cities within Dane County, the county that surrounds Madison, Wisconsin. The town is primarily agricultural despite its location only five miles from the Wisconsin State Capitol and the University of Wisconsin. 

According to TDR rules and procedures adopted in 2017 and amended in 2018, Springfield’s program aims to preserve farms and redirect growth to areas with existing housing and poorer soils. The sending areas are located in the Agricultural Preservation area and zoned Exclusive Agriculture. In the sending areas, most properties are zoned for an onsite density of one dwelling per 35 acres. To qualify, sites must have one or more available development rights and be located outside of the growth area of the City of Middleton. 

Typically the development rights to bonus homes ratio, or transfer ratio, is 1:1. But highly qualified parcels can become super sending areas with higher transfer ratios when paired with super receiving areas. To achieve super sending site status, a parcel must achieve at least 50 points in an evaluation system with 16 criteria including soil quality, evidence of active farming, and proximity to a large livestock operation, mineral extraction facility, conserved farm, highway, county natural resource conservation area, or an incorporated municipality but not within its growth area.  

Proposed receiving areas that support wastewater treatment systems, meet standards for lot size, siting, and neighborhood design can be rezoned to residential districts that fall into one of three categories. 

In a Type 1 Neighborhood Development, the transfer ratio can increase from 1:1 to 2:1 with either a super sending area or a super receiving area. A 4:1 ratio applies when a super sending site is paired with a super receiving site. A 5:1 ratio applies when a super sending site is paired with a super receiving site with an average lot size smaller than two acres.

In Type 2 Small Parcel Development receiving sites, the transfer ratio is 2:1 when a super sending site is paired with a super receiving site.

In Type 3, Preservation Lot Splits, receiving sites can achieve a maximum of two units per 35 acres at a 1:1 transfer ratio. 

Sending site transfers must be transferred directly to receiving sites; intermediaries are prohibited.  Generally, receiving sites require a rezoning.

The Town Clerk maintains a list of property owners interested in selling TDRs. As of October 2020, four owners of property in the sending area were on this list.