More than four years after the Oconee County Board of Commissioners voted to move forward on a Transfer of Development Rights program, the county has finally advertized for and received applications from consultants who have said they would like to work with the county on the project.
Wayne Provost, director of Strategic and Long-Range Planning for the county, told the Citizens Advisory Committee on Land Use and Transportation Planning last night that the county had received responses from Rick Pruetz of Hermosa Beach, Calif., and Ross and Associates of Atlanta.
The two consultants were responding to a Request for Qualifications that the county issued last month. Provost said the two seemed to meet the basic qualifications for submitting a proposal, should the Board of Commissioners decide to go forward with the project.
Provost provided a less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of going forward, saying he did not think anyone had “figured out” how to make a TDR program work in Georgia.
According to the web site of Milton in North Fulton County, that city has an active TDR program that was passed on June 18, 2012.
Contrast In Views
Provost’s negative view contrasts with the conclusions of a study committee appointed by the Board of Commissioners to examine the feasibility of such a program for Oconee County.
That group reported to the BOC on Jan. 27, 2009, that “Oconee County appears to be well suited for a successful TDR program.” It also said landowners, developers, taxpayers and county officials “could benefit greatly from a well-designed TDR program.”
A TDR program would designate certain areas of the county as appropriate for future growth and certain areas that would be better left undeveloped. The former would be classified as receiving areas, and the latter as sending areas.
Someone in the receiving areas would purchase the development rights from a landowner in the sending area.
A developer in the receiving area, by buying the development rights, would be able to develop more densely or in some more favorable way.
The land owner in the sending area would agree to place deed restrictions on the land that would limit future development.
BOC Instructed Provost In 2009
After receiving the TDR Committee final report in 2009, the BOC instructed Provost and the Committee “to move forward with a detailed scope of work and the generation of a request for proposal for a TDR consultant,” according to the minutes of that meeting.
Russ Page, a member of that the TDR Committee and an advocate for farmland protection, has been the lone voice publicly pushing for action since that time.
Provost gave an overview of the project to the Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee at its Nov. 13, 2012, meeting.
Committee member Tammy Gilland asked Provost for an update last night, prompting his comments about the two responses to the request for qualifications.
Provost said he had hoped for seven or eight applicants, but he added that it was a special area of expertise without a large number of qualified individuals.
The full three-minute video of the discussion of TDR programs is below.