Town of Southampton, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southampton 10-23-2001 by L.L. No. 45-2001; amended in its entirety 2-23-2010 by L.L. No. 6-2010. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 244-1 Purpose and intent.

A. 
Transfer of development rights. The Town Board through the adoption of the 1999 Comprehensive Plan Update has determined that the natural, scenic, and/or agricultural qualities of open land, areas of special character or special historic, cultural or aesthetic interest or value are important to the Town of Southampton and should be protected. The scenic, historic, cultural and economic identities of the Town are embodied in its farmland as well as the natural environment. Indirectly, the Town's second home and tourism industries are anchored by the scenic beauty and history provided by the Town's farmland and natural resources. For example, the continued loss of farmland is at this time critical to the future of farming for, with continued losses, the critical mass necessary for a farming economy will disappear. The 1999 Comprehensive Plan Update recommends that transfer development rights (TDR) be used as one of the tools to reduce density on farmland parcels, environmentally sensitive lands, and scenic vistas. Current transfer development rights programs used within the Town consist of the following: Old Filed Maps, Special Old Filed Maps, Transfer of Permitted Residential Development Rights, Increased Residential Density to Establish Low- and Lower-Middle Income Housing Inventory, Density Incentive, Planned Development Districts and the Pine Barrens Credit Program. Additionally, Article 6 of the Suffolk County Sanitary Code permits the use of transfer of development rights. These existing programs allow for transfer of development rights and sewage density increases, in very limited circumstances. These proposed procedures will facilitate and enhance these existing programs and will encourage other appropriate shifts in density.
B. 
The Town Board finds that one of the tools available to protect the natural, scenic, and/or agricultural qualities of open land, areas of special character or special historic, cultural or aesthetic interest or value is the use of a transfer of development rights (TDR) program. The transfer of development rights also enables and encourages flexibility of design and careful management of land in recognition of land as a basic and valuable natural resource. This chapter is intended to facilitate the Town's existing programs and to encourage the transfer of development from lands exhibiting qualities that warrant preservation, to receiving sites recognized by municipal regulations and programs, including, but not limited to, the Town Code and Comprehensive Plan, the Suffolk County Sanitary Code or the Central Pine Barrens Plan. By recognizing the existing development rights of the land the Town wishes to protect, and by allowing property owners to transfer or convey those rights to others who wish to develop in other areas, landowners are able to realize the asset value of their lands without developing them fully.
C. 
Further, the Town of Southampton has adopted a Community Preservation Fund (CPF) Project Plan that allows the funds generated from a two-percent real estate transfer tax to fund the establishment of a transfer of development rights (TDR) program pursuant to § 261-a of the Town Law in order to preserve and protect the natural, scenic, and/or agricultural qualities of open land, areas of special character or special historic, cultural or aesthetic interest or value identified by the Town as necessary to protect community character. The establishment of a Development Rights Clearinghouse will allow the Town to utilize Community Preservation Funds to facilitate the purchase of development rights by private landowners. The Town will have the mechanism to purchase development rights using Community Preservation Funds and then to sell them, thereby recycling Community Preservation Funds. The Town Board will be the Clearinghouse, and this chapter shall allow for the establishment of a special fund to administer the transfer of development rights that originate from parcels within the Agricultural Overlay District, Aquifer Protection Overlay District, Central Pine Barrens Overlay District or other environmentally sensitive lands identified in the Town's CPF Project Plan.
D. 
The establishment of these procedures will facilitate the transfer of development rights within the Town of Southampton and create a development rights certificate program that may be recognized by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and other municipal agencies. This chapter defines the formula for calculating the allocation of development rights for residential and nonresidential parcels and the procedure for obtaining a development right allocation letter and development rights certificate. Once these development rights are defined for a parcel which has been identified to possess natural, scenic, and/or agricultural qualities of open land, areas of special character or special historic, cultural or aesthetic interest or value, they can be transferred to receiving sites recognized by municipal regulations, including, but not limited to, the Town Code and Comprehensive Plan, the Suffolk County Sanitary Code or the Central Pine Barrens Plan. No longer will a landowner have to own both the sending and receiving sites to utilize development rights within the Town.

§ 244-2 Allocation of development rights.

A. 
Development rights may be allocated for each parcel of land established as a separate tax lot as of the effective date of this chapter upon the request of the landowner. Such parcel of land shall be determined by the Administrator of the Department of Land Management, or designee, to be a specific sending site pursuant to municipal regulations or the Comprehensive Plan or be listed as a parcel to be protected in the Town's CPF Project Plan or otherwise possess natural, scenic, and/or agricultural qualities of open land, areas of special character or special historic, cultural or aesthetic interest or value. If the Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee finds that the parcel of land does not qualify, the landowner may make a written request to the Town Board appealing the determination.
B. 
Residential development rights allocation. Within all residential zoning districts, one development right may be allocated for each single-family dwelling permitted on a qualified parcel of land, based upon the development right allocation established by multiplying the gross area (in acres) of the parcel of land by the following development right allocation factor for the applicable zoning district. The applicable development right allocation factor for a particular parcel of land is based upon the zoning requirements of Chapter 330 of the Town Code that was in existence as of November 1, 2001, for lands within the Agricultural Overlay District and January 1, 2010, for lands outside the Agricultural Overlay District. Fractional development right allocations shall be rounded to the nearest 1/100 (or 0.01) of a credit.
(1) 
The development right allocations for qualified parcels of land within the Agricultural Overlay District are as follows:
Allocation Table For Lands Within the Agricultural Overlay District
Zoning District
Minimum Lot Area of Zone
Development Right
Allocation Factor
CR-200
200,000
0.22
CR-120, R-120
120,000
0.36
CR-80, R-80
80,000
0.55
CR-60, R-60
60,000
0.73
CR-40, R-40
40,000
0.92
(2) 
The development right allocations for qualified parcels of land outside the Agricultural Overlay District are as follows:
Allocation Table For Lands Outside the Agricultural Overlay District
Zoning District
Minimum Lot Area of Zone
Development Right
Allocation Factor
CR-200
200,000
0.16
CR-120, R-120
120,000
0.27
CR-80, R-80
80,000
0.40
CR-60, R-60
60,000
0.60
CR-40, R-40
40,000
0.80
R-20
20,000
1.60
R-15
15,000
2.00
R-10
10,000
2.70
C. 
Nonresidential development right allocation. Within all nonresidential zoning districts, one development right may be allocated for each one acre of gross lot area of the parcel. Fractional allocation of a development right shall be rounded to the nearest 1/100 (or 0.01) of a credit. For example, as shown in § 330-37 of the Town Code, one acre in the Light Industrial (LI-40) Zone would equal one development right.
D. 
No development right shall be allocated for property for which development rights have previously been used, or allocated for use, under this chapter, nor for lands which are encumbered by an easement, covenant or other deed restriction for the purpose of land protection, preservation or conservation except where deed, easement or covenant provides otherwise.
E. 
Partially improved parcels or parcels where residual uses remain shall receive a decreased allocation based upon the extent of improvement or residual use. There shall be a proportional decrease in allocation based upon the receipt of discretionary permits for improvement of the parcel.
(1) 
For example, in calculating subdivision yield on real property within the Agricultural Overlay District where some development rights have been transferred, the square footage for each development right that has been transferred shall be excluded along with the other areas listed in § 292-10B of the Town Code as areas excluded in determining the number of legal building lots. For example, a ten-acre parcel in the Agricultural Overlay District and CR-80 Zone will be allocated 5.5 development rights using the formula defined in this section. If the landowner sells one development right and then files an application with the Planning Board to subdivide his property, before calculations of proposed number of building lots are determined pursuant to § 292-10 of the Town Code, 80,000 square feet or the respective minimum lot area (representing one development right that has originated in a CR-80 Zone or other applicable zoning district) must be deducted from the total square footage of the property to be subdivided.
(2) 
No deductions shall be made if development rights have been transferred in determining the amount of acreage that may be preserved under § 247-8B, C, and D of the Town Code (or set aside), and the square footage of the development rights transferred shall be added to the set-aside percentages of land to be preserved pursuant to § 247-8 of the Town Code.
F. 
Notwithstanding the aforementioned requirements, one development right may be allocated for a nonconforming parcel of land having a lot area of 10,000 square feet or greater, provided said parcel has been held in single-and-separate ownership prior and since the effective date of Chapter 330 (Zoning) of the Town Code or any amendment thereafter making the parcel nonconforming. One-half (0.5) development right may be allocated for each single-and-separate, nonconforming parcel having a lot area of 10,000 square feet or less.
G. 
A parcel of land that is not capable of subdivision into additional parcels and which contains wetlands may be allocated one development right, provided said parcel has an area of at least 10,000 square feet and, if nonconforming, has been held in single-and-separate ownership prior to and since the effective date of Chapter 330 (Zoning) of the Town Code.
H. 
A parcel of land that is capable of subdivision into additional parcels and which contains wetlands shall exclude the area of wetlands when calculating the development right allocation in accordance with the allocation tables contained in this section.
I. 
The allocation of development rights on a parcel of land in the Old Filed Map and Special Old Filed Map Overlay Districts shall be pursuant to the provisions for calculating fractional development rights contained in Articles XI and XII of the Town Code, respectively.
J. 
The allocation of development rights on a parcel of land in the Compatible Growth Area of the Central Pine Barrens Overlay District shall be pursuant to the provisions of Article XXV of the Town Code. Pine Barren Credits from the Core Preservation Area of the Central Pine Barrens may only be issued by the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission.

§ 244-3 Procedure for obtaining development right allocation letter.

A. 
An owner of a parcel of land can obtain a development right allocation letter from the Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee that indicates the number of development right that can be allocated and transferred off of a parcel of land. The Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee shall allocate development rights in accordance with § 244-2 of this chapter or based on a subdivision yield map designed in accordance with the standards of Chapter 292 (Subdivision Regulations) of the Town Code. A landowner shall provide a certified survey of a property with a written request in order for the development right allocation letter to be issued. The Department of Land Management shall maintain a record of all development right allocation letters and the number of development rights available on parcels that have received development right allocation letters.
B. 
If a landowner disputes the allocation calculation, a written request to the Planning Board appealing the development right allocations can be submitted. Once the appeal is received, the request shall be placed on the next available Planning Board meeting agenda to present reasons for disputing the allocation. The landowner shall provide a certified survey before the Planning Board issues a determination on the appeal.
C. 
If a landowner disputes the Planning Board's determination on the appeal of the allocation calculation, the landowner shall have the remedy of filing an Article 78 proceeding in State Supreme Court. Such proceeding shall be instituted within 30 days of the filing of the Planning Board decision in the office of the Town Clerk.
D. 
The development right allocation letter shall expire after one year but may be renewed for an additional year if an application is made to the Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee and there has been no change in circumstances.

§ 244-4 Obtaining development right certificate.

A. 
A landowner who decides to obtain a development right certificate must present a current development right allocation letter obtained from the Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee and must place a conservation easement on the property that defines the number of development rights that shall be removed from the property and the number of development rights remaining on the property. This easement must be filed with the office of the County Clerk, and the Department of Land Management must be notified of this transaction. The easement may not be recorded until all title issues are resolved and the Town Attorney has approved the easement as to its form, and the Town Board has accepted the conservation easement after due notice and a public hearing has been held pursuant to General Municipal Law § 247. In lieu of the filing of a conservation easement, the landowner may dedicate or convey the fee title or lesser interest in the land to a municipality or other qualified conservation organization, provided said dedication or conveyance achieves the protection of the resource sought by the Town.
B. 
Once the conservation easement or dedication instrument has been recorded in the office of the Suffolk County Clerk and the Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee has been given proof that the easement or dedication instrument has been filed, the Administrator of Land Management shall provide the landowner with a development right certificate containing the number of development rights the landowner has removed from a property.

§ 244-5 Transfer, sale or conveyance of development right certificates.

In the case of transfer, sale or conveyance of a Southampton Town development right certificate, a new owner must immediately present the certificate to the Administrator or designee together with written evidence of the transaction (i.e., a bill of sale or signed agreement with the previous certificate owner). The Administrator or designee shall fill out the Transfer/Sale/Conveyance form on the development right certificate with the following information: grantee name and contact information, grantor name and contact information; number of rights transferred / sold / conveyed; the date of the transaction; any interest secured as part of the transaction; and the consideration exchanges. The old development right certificate shall then be stamped "CANCELED," and an updated development right certificate shall be issued to the owner(s).

§ 244-6 Redeeming development right certificates.

An owner of a development right certificate who intends to redeem it must present the original certificate to the Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee, who will verify the authenticity of the certificate and direct the certificate owner to the appropriate board or department. Once the certificate owner has committed to extinguishing or transferring all or some of the rights contained in the certificate, the original certificate shall be delivered to the Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee, who shall extinguish the number of rights defined in the certificate or issue a new certificate containing the balance of the remaining unused development rights. The Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee may also present a receipt to the certificate owner, who must extinguish development right(s) in order to satisfy a condition of a municipal approval or permit.

§ 244-7 Establishment of Development Rights Clearinghouse.

The Town Board finds that, in order to implement the Comprehensive Plan toward the protection of the natural, scenic, and/or agricultural qualities of open land, areas of special character or special historic, cultural or aesthetic interest or value, steps must be taken to promote the use and sale of development rights established under the program and that the best means of providing this assurance is through the establishment of a Development Rights Clearinghouse, consisting of the Town Board. The establishment of the Clearinghouse will allow landowners to purchase development rights that the Town obtained using Community Preservation Funds and other funding sources. This will create another mechanism to utilize private funds to purchase development rights that benefit all Town residents. The Clearinghouse shall purchase development rights and coordinate with the Administrator of the Department of Land Management or designee, who shall track these development rights. The Clearinghouse shall function subject to the provisions set forth below:
A. 
The Clearinghouse shall allow for the establishment of a special fund to administer funds generated and allocated from the transfer of development rights.
B. 
The Clearinghouse may establish the monetary value of development rights to be purchased and sold by the Clearinghouse.
C. 
The Clearinghouse may purchase development rights from property owners to further the objectives of the Comprehensive Plan.
D. 
The Clearinghouse may apply for, receive, accept, and utilize, with the approval from any federal, state, or other public or private source, grants or loans for, or in aid of, the Board's authorized purposes.
E. 
The Clearinghouse may utilize funds allocated for Clearinghouse purposes and to implement appropriate fiscal and accounting practices.
F. 
The Clearinghouse may create an Advisory Board to advise the Clearinghouse on matters involving the purchase and sale of development rights and to promote the transfer of development rights within the Town of Southampton.
G. 
The Town Board may appoint such consultants or employees as the Clearinghouse may require for the performance of its duties.