Westlake, Texas

Westlake, Texas, population 1,558 (2018), is a suburb north of Fort Worth. In 2017, the town adopted Transfer of Development Intensity (TDI) regulations aimed at preserving view corridors, managing traffic, and implementing the open space and public facility needs of the comprehensive plan.

All privately owned land in Westlake is mapped as sending, receiving, or dual eligibility districts. Those designated as sending areas generally have view corridors, environmental-sensitivity, and/or proximity to residential uses. Those designated as receiving areas are areas where more development is wanted, infrastructure has more capacity, and topography can conceal more intensive development. The dual eligibility districts are determined as applications are made for transfers. 

Only land zoned as Planned Development (PD) can participate and the ordinance lists all PDs that existed in Westlake as of 2017. When a sending site only transfers density without an added community benefit, the development intensity allowed on the receiving site is equal to the intensity removed from the sending site. However, the transfer can include an intensity bonus if a developer takes advantage of an incentive option by: setting aside public land for parks, trails, or open space; setting aside land for a public facility such as a library, fire station, museum, or school; preserving a prominent landform; setting aside public open space that advances the plan for Westlake Academy; or supporting the Westlake public arts program by sponsoring an art event or donating public art to the town. The incentive for the last two benefits is a 15 percent transfer bonus.  

Per Sec. 102-292, the town may approve a severance without immediately approving a transfer to a receiving site. The PD zoning enforces any severances and the severances remain in effect until the property is rezoned.    

Sec. 102-294a states that intensity in a receiving area can only be increased via transfer from a sending area. Transferred intensity can be converted from a land use that is permitted in a sending area but not permitted in a receiving area using the ordinance’s Exhibit D, which contains conversion rates for 17 different land uses.