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TDC101 TDC Development Areas

Selection Criteria

Al TDC programs identify which parcels are (or could be) included in the  TDC Development Areas, eligible for some measure of bonus development. As mentioned earlier in this section, that identification may be delineated on a map, or may be presented as a list of criteria which a given parcel must satisfy to be registered as a TDC Development Area. In either case, the municipality must still have created their own selection criteria based on the goals of the program – and a healthy dose of pragmatism!

Each program’s TDC Development Area criteria will be different, and based on the unique characteristics of that area and that program. Having said that, there are some guidelines or similar questions that each program must consider in choosing these criteria:

The Goal – Similar to TDC Conservation Areas, designation of TDC Development Areas should first and foremost consider the TDC program goal. However, municipalities should also seek to connect TDC Development Area siting to broader land and economic development goals (industrial subdivision, affordable housing, walkable communities, etc.).

‘Ideal’ Locations – The principle of development planning within a TDC program is that municipalities can incent development activity in areas that ideally support the community development plan, but may not be the first choice of developers, creating a win-win. It is important, therefore, for municipalities to be able to articulate what would be ‘ideal’ development placement.

Conflicts with Conservation – It is possible that proposed TDC Development Areas, chosen based on logical criteria, encompass parcels that are critically important as conservation lands. In these cases, municipalities have to consider if their conservation gains are negated by development of these landscapes.

Infrastructure and Services – This is perhaps the most common consideration in siting TDC Development Areas, and is based on simple pragmatism. Areas that are close to existing infrastructure and services such roads, power, phone, internet, water, sewer, schools, and/or retirement housing tend to be more attractive.

Existing Development – Although the existence of infrastructure is an important set of pragmatic criteria, so too is the current planning and development environment. TDC Development Areas are often located near to existing similar developments (in the same or neighbouring jurisdictions), or in areas that are already zoned for that type of development activity, or in areas known to be facing development pressures.

Complementary Development Goals – TDC Development Areas may be selected for their ability to support complementary development and planning goals, such as affordable housing, retirement housing, walkability, green space, etc. These goals are often reflected in the TDC credit system (fewer credits required for developments meeting these additional goals).

Clustering – Transfer of Development Credits are based on the concept of clustering, the idea that the same level of development properly sited can more capably align with the community’s conservation goals than that level of development randomly distributed across the landscape. TDC Development Areas (collectively) should be assessed as to whether they truly represent a clustering of development activity.

Other Jurisdictions – If the TDC program is developed jointly by more than one municipality, it goes without saying that those other jurisdictions would be considered. However, even when the TDC program operates in only one municipality, it is important to consider adjacent municipalities. Intergovernmental Development Plans may highlight opportunities for ideal TDC Development Area locations. Existing development (or conservation) that is ‘next door’ may suggest better or worse places to locate development. Annexation plans should also be considered; in at least one American program, recognizing that the TDC Development Area was slated to be annexed, the development guidelines were cooperatively modified to reflect those in the ultimate jurisdiction.


Miistakis Reports

Government of Alberta


Web Resources

Support Organizations and Consultants

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Also, check out our full list of TDC Resources.