France’s Urban Development Reform Act of 1976, in a provision now found in article L123-2 of the Urban Development Code, allows jurisdictions to adopt TDR programs in which development rights can be transferred from transmitter (or sending) zones in order to conserve “the quality of the landscape” and used to concentrate growth in receiving zones. The scope of the term “landscape” has not yet been tested in the courts; therefore, it is not clear whether community assets such as farmland qualify as sending sites. Few French jurisdictions have adopted TDR programs but some can be found in coastal and mountain areas. One such example is the commune of Taninges, a municipality of over 3,000 people in the Haute-Savoie department of the Rhone-Alpes region about 30 miles east of Geneva, Switzerland.
The sending area in Taninges is the Praz de Lys plateau with a mile-high elevation suitable for cross country skiing and other winter sports. Before extending a road into this area, Taninges adopted a plan for orderly development which divides the entire plateau into conservation sending areas and receiving areas. Parcels in the sending area can transfer 0.035 square meters of floor area development potential per one square meter of land when owners permanently preclude the site from development. However, the commune allows itself to transfer development rights that it owns in the sending area at the higher rate of 0.10 square meters of floor area per one square meter of land.
Receiving area baseline density is 0.035 square meters of floor area per one square meter of land with additional density granted via TDR up to maximum densities that range from 1.0 to 3.0 square meters per one square meter of land area. The program uses a one-to-one transfer ratio: 0.035 square meters of floor area above baseline is allowed for each 0.035 square meters transferred from the sending site by the preservation of one square meter of land area.
Taninges has been actively involved in implementation of its TDR program. In fact, the municipality itself launched the program by transferring floor area between sending sites and receiving sites belonging to the commune. Thereafter a private TDR market developed with rights selling for between 1.75 and 2.80 euros per square meter of sending area land.
Renard, V. (2007) Property rights and the transfer of development rights: Questions of efficiency and equity. Town Planning Review, 78, pp. 41-60.
Renard, V. (2000) Land markets and transfer of development rights: some examples in France, Italy and the United States in Fossati, A. et al (eds) Tourism and Sustainable Economic Development. Norwell, Massachusetts: Kluwer Academic Publishers.