Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Will "transfer of development rights" be the vehicle of compromise for foes and friends of Washington's land-use regulations?

In an interesting article by Eric Pryne in the Seattle Times, one possible avenue of compromise between the friends and foes of recently defeated land-rights initiative I-933 is discussed -- TDRs, that is transferable development rights. Quoting the article:
Here's how TDR programs work: Governments establish "sending sites" — lands they want to protect — and "receiving sites" — lands where development is encouraged. If they choose, owners of sending sites can then sell some or all of their legal right to develop their property to owners of receiving sites, who in turn can use that acquired right to develop their property more densely than zoning otherwise allows. Everything is voluntary.

The article quotes rural property interests as thinking this sort of approach doesn't go far enough to lessen the regulatory burden. But the effort to find some sort of compromise is afoot. Gov. Gregoire has tasked the William D. Ruckelshaus Center to convene the various interest groups to explore possible avenues of compromise. And Mr. Ruckelshaus can be a very persuasive gentleman. The Center is to report back to the governor by October.