Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program

Background

In 2011, the City of Milford adopted the SE Master Plan as an amendment to the City's Comprehensive Plan to guide growth and land use decisions in the Southeast Neighborhood.  The City of Milford, State of Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination (OSPC), Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) were partners in developing the master plan and have committed to work jointly to implement the plan recommendations.  A major component of the SE Master Plan included the development of a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program that would preserve agricultural resources east of the City while providing density bonuses in concentrated areas within the master planned neighborhood.

On July 22, 2019, City Council adopted Ordinance 2019-13, Ordinance 2019-20 and Resolution 2019-05 thereby amending Chapter 200 Subdivision of Land and Chapter 230 Zoning establishing the TDR program and TDR Credit Fee.

How the Program Works

The City's Comprehensive Plan and SE Master Plan identify TDR Sending Areas and Receiving Areas (see link for map).  In order to participate in the preservation program, sending parcels must convey all of their available transfer credits at the time of preservation easement dedication and property owners who have transferred development rights from their land forfeit the ability to subdivide for residential development.  The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) would secure the permanent preservation easement through State farmland preservation program with funds collected by the City through the TDR Program.  

Receiving Areas are identified in the City's Comprehensive Plan and SE Master Plan.  The City would have the flexibility to determine the exact location on the receiving parcel where the TDR credits may be applied based on the following; availability of public utilities, road and traffic considerations, availability of public transportation, environmental considerations, proximity to public services and existing density.  Developers would be able to build at a density of up to eight (8) dwelling units per acre by-right through the TDR Program and receiving areas would be rezoned to R-8 Garden Apartment and Townhouse District in accordance with Chapter 230-58.  The rezoning would permit the construction of single-family detached, semi-detached, townhouse and multi-family housing.  Designated Receiving Areas would be eligible to purchase additional density at cost of $3,000 per dwelling unit from the City of Milford, subject to change annually per the Planning Department Fee Schedule.

Funds collected from the density bonuses will be used to permanently preserve agricultural lands and open space as identified in the Comprehensive Plan.  

If you have questions or are interested in learning more about the City's TDR Program, please contact Rob Pierce, Planning & Economic Development Director, at rpierce@milford-de.gov or by phone at (302) 424-8396.