Why do counties adopt transfer of development rights programs?
Transfer of development rights (TDR) programs are widely-used market-based tools for growth management efforts that seek to protect farmland, natural areas, and other open spaces threatened by development pressure. Yet, little is known about why local governments adopt, or do not adopt TDR. This study uses descriptive analysis and logistic regression modeling to identify local factors associated with the adoption of TDR by Florida counties from the 1970s to the 2010s. We find that counties that adopt TDR tend to be larger in size, with higher agricultural product sales, and voter-supported land conservation ballot measures. TDR adoption is also associated with home rule authority and a greater percentage of Republican voters, suggesting that market-based mechanisms are linked to both local ability to adopt innovative planning strategies, and to political conservatism. Overall, TDR appears to be a tool that developed counties use to rationalize growth across large areas.