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Let's find a way to preserve Crow's Nest

December 28, 2012 12:10 am

Let's find a way to preserve Crow's Nest

On Dec. 4, the Stafford Board of Supervisors voted to defer action on the Transfer of Development Rights ordinance until a subcommittee can fine-tune it.

The proposed TDR ordinance would allow up to 900 existing "by right" lots from the 2,000-acre "sending" area near Crow's Nest to be transferred into the Courthouse Road Urban Development Area, the "receiving" area. A "by right" lot in the A-1 district has to be at least three acres.

By transferring the development rights to the UDA, three acres of rural land is preserved. The UDA surrounding the Courthouse has been designated by the comprehensive plan to be the area where higher density development can be accommodated. Since this is a pilot program that applies only to the Courthouse UDA, no other property owners would be affected.

Those who believe in the wisdom of "smart growth" know that the answer to suburban sprawl is to allow density in the growth area, where water and sewer are available, while preserving the integrity of the rural areas. This TDR plan adheres to these smart-growth principles. And the voluntary sale of development rights recognizes the property rights of existing landowners.

Approximately 300 of the by-right lots are in Crow's Nest Harbour. These lots were platted and sold in the 1970s but roads were never built. These property owners have been paying property taxes for decades on land they cannot use.

The voluntary sale of these development rights would preserve pristine rural land on the Crow's Nest peninsula and encourage smart growth in the UDA. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Douglas F. Brown


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