New York Approves Climate-Driven TDRs

Pictured Above: East Hampton Hamlet Study’s Downtown Montauk Phase 2 plan, which recommends moving oceanfront hotels northward using TDRs, filling in gaps in business development on higher ground, and providing for affordable housing.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed new legislation sponsored by South Fork State Assemblyman Fred Thiele allowing the use of Transfers of Development Rights (TDR) for properties vulnerable to climate change.

The use of TDRs to move businesses back from the ocean is a major recommendation of East Hampton’s Montauk Hamlet Study, which includes numerous recommendations for making both downtown Montauk and the area surrounding Montauk Harbor more resilient against harsh storms and rising seas.            

TDR is a land use tool that provides municipalities in New York State with an effective and flexible mechanism for balancing both the development and preservation of land. It has been used by cities, towns, and villages for decades. 

TDR allows municipalities to detach the development rights from lands specified by the municipality to remain undeveloped (“sending area”), while at the same time permitting those rights to be transferred to areas deemed to be more appropriate for a higher concentration and mix of development (“receiving area”). 

This new law expands the scope of TDR to help relocate development away from high-risk areas, such as land in flood zones or on steep slopes, and will help municipalities improve storm resiliency.

“We are already seeing the adverse effects of climate change across our region, and extreme-weather events are becoming more frequent and more catastrophic,” says Mr. Thiele. “It is vitally important that municipalities in vulnerable, flood-prone areas have the necessary tools to protect themselves from storm damages and the related costs. I am pleased that the Governor has signed this important measure into law.”

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Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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