Does Boulder Development Rule Favor The Rich

During the meeting with Ruth C. Becker, the Boulder County TDC Clearinghouse Administrator, I learned that part of the decision to implement the Transferable Development Rights program included a decision to not set a firm cap on housing size.

Rather, the commissioners approved the TDC program in an effort to balance the wants and needs of those of us who wish to build a larger home, along with an opportunity for those who have a smaller home and want to sell development credits.

I think this looks like a great way for the county to create a revenue stream, and also to provide a method for those with big money to simply build the behemoth home they always intended.

If you find you’re considering a change and have some questions about real estate in our area, please send me an email or give me a call so we can talk about what’s important to you right now.

It’s useful to understand the basics of how the TDC program works. TDCs are negotiable, valuable instruments that are available to trade or sell, within the confines of those who own land in unincorporated Boulder county.

If you want to build or remodel a home which requires TDCs (essentially a home over 6000 square feet), you can purchase these development credits based on a scale determined by the county. It’s along the lines of one TDC gets you permission to build an additional 500 square feet. It’s not strictly linear, so the larger you want to build the more TDCs you need to purchase. As you build larger, you need two or even three TDCs to get approval for additional blocks of 500 square feet.

The tricky part of this is that right now, the only TDCs available for purchase are owned by the county.

Boulder county has tagged a significant amount of open space land it has purchased to work within the TDC program. The TDCs offered for sale are $10,000 each, and Becker says the county has about 60 of them available currently. This works well for the county, and those who have plenty of money to essentially circumvent what might otherwise be a policy which could limit housing sizes in Boulder county.

The strange thing is that I hear many people complaining about having older homes that need remodeling or updating who can’t get approval for their plans. I’ll have more on this again, and a different point of view to explore.

Call or email me today for more information, if you’re ready to explore real estate in the Boulder area.
-Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor® and EcoBroker®


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