TRANSFER DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS TO UPLAND AREAS

Susannah Drake

I propose that the city transfer development rights from Zone 1 Flood Zones to upland areas in order to finance a buyout of the city’s most vulnerable coastal areas. Governor Cuomo has proposed a buyout of some of these coastal zones, but there is no long-term mechanism to pay for it. This strategy could be used especially to transfer density from residential and industrial zones with low maximum FAR to upland sites.

A share of the value captured by this transfer of development rights should be dedicated to creating a fund for construction and long-term maintenance of wetland buffers and maintaining coastal landscapes. The expense associated with these waterfront buffers slows, delays, and often kills these green infrastructure projects. By pairing development funds with coastal green infrastructure strategies, the city would be able to more easily finance a more resilient and better protected coastline.

Susannah C. Drake, FASLA, is the Founding Principal of dlandstudio, an award-winning multidisciplinary design firm. She is also Visiting Professor at The Cooper Union.

Images: dlandstudio.