The Township of West Lampeter, population 13,145, lies immediately south of the City of Lancaster in the center of Lancaster County. Despite its proximity to this growing city, West Lampeter is primarily agricultural and still maintains its rural character. To preserve that character, the Township adopted a TDR program designed to preserve farmland and environmentally-sensitive land as well as encourage development in areas with infrastructure and offer a free market means of compensating property owners for voluntarily preserving their land.
West Lampeter uses TDR to preserve farmland and environmentally-sensitive land.
Sending sites must be at least ten acres in size and located within the Township’s A, OSR or RR zoning districts. TDRs cannot be granted to parcels or portions of parcels that are already restricted by easements, covenants or deed restrictions. An applicant must supply yield plans for both the proposed sending and receiving sites showing the amount of development likely to be approved without the use of the TDR option. The number of dwelling units estimated by the yield plan for the proposed sending site can precluded by permanent easement, transferred to the proposed receiving site and used there to exceed the number of units that the yield plan indicates could occur there without use of the TDR option.
Potential receiving sites consist of land in zoning districts that allow Neighborhood Design Option (NDO) development and development rights can only be transferred to NDO developments. When the sending site is zoned A, three additional dwelling units can be located on the receiving site for each unit precluded at the sending site. When the sending site is in the OSR or RR zone, one bonus unit is allowed in the receiving development for each unit precluded at the sending site. The NDO ordinance limits maximum density allowed when transfers occur. The receiving site development must comply with all development requirements applicable when bonus density is not used.
Applications to use the TDR mechanism must include an agreement between the owner of the sending site and the developer of the receiving site, contingent on the approval of the receiving site development. Although this provision suggests that sending site severance and receiving site approval must be concurrent, the ordinance specifically allows TDRs previously severed to be used if a title search of these TDRs is conducted.
In December 2007, the Lancaster Farmland Trust completed West Lampeter’s first TDR transaction by securing five TDRs. The Trust pledged to use the proceeds from the sale of these TDRs for the preservation of additional land in West Lampeter.