Washington County TDR Study

The WCRPC was awarded a grant by the RI Statewide Planning Program for $51,000 to study the benefits of implementing a local Transfer of Development Rights, or TDR, program. The study was intended to assess TDR in the Washington County municipalities, as well as an inter-municipal program and a statewide program.

TDR is used as a means to preserve open space (farm or forest) while fostering development in areas where higher density is preferred, such as existing village, town, or city centers. TDR uses market forces, and does not require public funds to purchase property or development rights. At the time of the study, only North Kingstown had such a program, although it has been discussed for years within the state, and has proven to work well in other parts of the country.

The grant allowed WCRPC to study TDR in Washington County, and Rhode Island as a whole. The goals of the project included:

  • Create awareness and expand local knowledge of TDR among the Washington County municipalities, including residents, elected officials, and local board and commission members.
  • Research existing TDR, land preservation, or designated growth center programs across the country, identifying patterns, successes, and failures.
  • Identifying challenges and opportunities that apply generally to TDR implementation, and those that are specific to Washington County municipalities, the County, and Rhode Island as a whole.

In October 2012, the findings of the Washington County Transfer of Development Rights Study were compiled into a final report, and presented to the municipalities involved. A copy of the Washington County Transfer of Development Rights Study: Final Report is available here.