Transfer Development Rights are… “Up On The Roof”

Do not say the land ahead does not exist, simply because you cannot see it.”
― Robert H. Barlow

There are thousands of acres of vacant land in Nassau County.

Don’t look down. Look Up.

The Vacant Land is Up on the Roof.

Yes, the Drifters were singing about Development.

The Air Space above buildings in appropriate districts will be re-designated as buildable land in a new “L” Zone. Building height in an L Zone will be proscribed to conform to market needs, economic mandates and community input. The initial uses will be established through form[based zoning. Conceptually, uses most likely will evolve into Office (O), Residential (R), Senior Residential (SR), STEM Residential (ST), Sustainable Residential (SU), Retail (RE) and Cultural (C).

The newly designated airspace will have separate tax map designations by allowable story beginning at the current roof line.

A sample designation is as follows:

Current 2 story building is designated S32 B14 L122. The four stories of airspace above it are zoned for two stories Office and two Stories Residential (LO and LR). The tax map designations of the Air Space will be as follows:

S32 B14 L122A (LO)
S32 B14 L122B (LO)
S32 B14 L122C (LR)
S32 B14 L122D (LR)

When needed, accommodation will be made for elevators, stairs, mechanical and HVAC by permitting vertical corridors to be built on the exterior of the building that will be exempt from lot coverage and FAR calculations.

Furthermore, parking requirements, FAR and lot coverage will be recalibrated on a district-wide basis under revised codes to recognize the development of the airspace. With respect to parking, the zoning will recognize the increased use of shared transportation services (Uber, Lyft) and credits against parking requirements will be given to developers who contribute to walkability of the neighborhood. Communities will be given the opportunity to participate by receiving incentives (grants, BID support, business support) for supporting and creating parking management plans. #walkability

A consequence of this rezoning will be a subdivision of the Airspace from the underlying building and a subdivision by story of all created lots above the roof space. This will facilitate financing by giving lenders a priority lien in the real estate above the roofline thus increasing the amount of sourced capital earmarked for development.

Furthermore, the subdivision at the roof line will give IDAs or other abatement conduits the ability to approve a PILOT in an amount equal to the current taxes below the roofline and phase in above the roof line. Below the roof property will be treated as fully taxed vacant property for PILOT purposes.

Lastly , because of the horizontal subdivisions, Owners will be able to sell/lease the rights to develop the layered airspace to various developers who are experienced in the uses for which the airspace is zoned. That will facilitate development.

The airspace will be assessed and will receive a 100% tax credit against any levied taxes on the airspace phased out over the earlier of (i) 7 years or (ii) development.

A municipality can acquire the airspace through condemnation or purchase and dedicate it to municipal or perpetual open space. If acquired by eminent domain, the constitutionally required just compensation will depend on the ownership of the property under the roofline. If the airspace that was acquired and the property under the roofline have common or affiliated ownership, the just compensation will be a 30 year property tax credit adjusted for future value on taxes levied on the property under the roofline. In addition, the common owner may elect to syndicate the credits and transfer to another property owner within the same taxing jurisdiction (School, Village, Town, County and Special Assessing Districts). If the airspace was transferred by the owner of the property under the roofline prior to condemnation, the just compensation will be cash from bond proceeds or operating revenue of the municipality.