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Baldwinsville: TDR preserves farmlands, monitors growth

Like many municipalities across the Central New York region, Lysander faces a demand for development and faces dwindling farmlands.

To address various growth management issues, the town has been developing the Transfer of Development Rights program.

On behalf of the town, Engineer Brian Madigan of Barton and Loguidice presented information about the innovative TDR program at Mondays board meeting. According to his report, the town of Lysander is the fastest growing township with respect to residential development in Central New York and local officials are in the process of reviewing development proposals for more than 1,500 new residential units in the towns agricultural/residential zoning district. Many of these proposed developments are planned for the Cold-Springs peninsula, an area that is also home to economically viable farmlands.

The TDR program will attempt to preserve these farmlands while at the same time preserving the farmers right to sell land to a developer. The plan basically enables farmers to sell the development rights to their land and receive the appraised value per lot (the price they might receive if they were to sell it for actual development). The land then has a conservation easement placed on it so it will remain forever agricultural. The development rights are placed into a town operated "development rights bank" and auctioned off to developers for use in pre-approved areas of Lysander. Developers purchase the development rights (not the land) to increase the density in planned developments within Lysander.

The plan essentially eliminates zone change requests for increased density because developers would have to purchase increased density from the DR bank. It also creates better land use because soil rich lands will be preserved for farming, while non-sensitive land will be used for development. Without the plan, the town would risk losing valuable farmlands rich with nourishing soils because developers could purchase the land directly from the farmer and place homes on it.

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