River Bottoms Vision

River Bottoms Vision

Transferable Development Rights

This page provides information on the transferable development rights tool the City is hoping to use as a way to preserve the River Bottoms by respecting the rights of property owners in the River Bottoms while limiting its development. After several years of work, public input, and research, we are excited for the transferable development rights concept.

What is the TDR Program?

The transferable development rights program in Spanish Fork would function as a tool to direct growth from the River Bottoms to other areas in the City where it makes the most sense, like around transit plans.

A draft of the TDR program can be found here.

How does it work?

Overview of the TDR Program for the River Bottoms.

The TDR program is designed to be simple to understand both for property owners who might sell their TDRs and developers who might purchase them. In essence, based on acreage, a property has an assigned number of developable rights. Through a process with the City, these rights can be converted to a marketable format and sold, while protecting the land from non-agricultural uses.

Why is it important?

The Spanish Fork City Council shares the vision of residents in wanting to preserve the River Bottoms as undeveloped open space and agricultural ground. Using the TDR program as a tool is one way that the City Council has responded to the request of preserving the River Bottoms and protecting property rights for those in the River Bottoms that may choose to annex into the City.

It is also important to understand that keeping the River Bottoms open through the TDR tool will increase density in other areas throughout the City. These “receiving zones” have been outlined where growth makes sense, like around transit plans.

What makes the program successful?

The only way the TDR program can function is if it's completely voluntary for property owners. In no way does this force property owners to participate in the TDR program, or even annex into the City. The program is designed to be an option for property owners and provide a way for them to be compensated for the rights to develop.

Other guiding principles of the program include the need for the market to determine the value of each right, provide ample opportunities to sell and use the development rights (in receiving zones), and consideration for the future for the lands being preserved.

How did we get here?

Getting to the point of a TDR proposal has come through many hours of research and public input. Under the direction of the City Council, City staff has studied various tools and ways to help preserve the River Bottoms as open space while finding a solution to benefit property owners.

To find out more about the conversations that have been taking place about the River Bottoms over the last few years, you can check out a Facebook Live conversation from May 14, 2019 or the information compiled into the draft Vision Plan. You can also view the River Bottoms Stakeholder Summary Report and Online Survey Summary Report.

Video from Nov. 9, 2021, Public Hearing