Ron Beitler Calls for Transferable Development Rights

He should have a chat with John Callahan and other Democrats running for County government. That’s where this is really needed. Glad to see the idea is going to be getting some play in Lower Macungie:

What I would have advocated for differently:

One alternative is targeting tracts for preservation west of Rt. 100 using mechanisms such as a transferable development rights program. Here landowners can be fairly compensated for their property by selling development “rights” to other developers seeking enhanced, new or special uses, greater density or intensity, or other regulatory flexibility.
The Allen Organ parcel may have been a perfect candidate for such a program. We could have allowed this development to occur but only in exchange for preservation elsewhere. These programs are in place throughout the state. Everyone wins. The developer seeking more intense uses has options to acquire them, landowners who should be fairly compensated for their development rights are, and the community at large seeking to protect our quality of life has a mechanism to ensure it.

The key ingredients for a successful TDR program are all here; a strong real estate market; community consensus for conservation, and a community willingness to accommodate smart growth. All we need are leaders willing to explore these alternative options.


  1. There is one additional ingredient we need – to keep people like Geeting, who has professed a strong desire to fuck over farmers, out of the process. Remember your diatribe against farmers being able to retire at some age? “They can just keep farming,” was your reply.

    Beitler has credibility, you have none. If you want this to go forward, stay away.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Maybe you should just agree to agree with me. If there’s a way to preserve farmland, pay everyone fairly, and not reduce the supply of developable land, then there’s no reason to go the farmland zoning route.

      • Be honest Jon – tough concept for you I know, but try.

        You don’t want what Beitler is saying. You want to punish anyone who lives outside the cities and this is the first step for you to do so. You hate anyone who doesn’t bow to your version of a great life, and belittle those who dare to disagree with your wisdom. You hate farmers and what them crushed into indentured servitude. Anyone who wants a yard is to be laughed at and ridiculed.

        You don’t want free markets you want government control.

        Connecticut man. They need you.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          Actually you’ve got me completely wrong. I am in total agreement with Ron. A pareto efficient outcome where everyone benefits is better than one where some people benefit and some people get soaked. I’m always interested in the pareto efficient option if there is one. But there isn’t always one. Sometimes to make most people better off, a smaller number of people have to lose out. I know of very few pro-growth policies where that isn’t the case.

  2. “……enhanced, new or special uses, greater density or intensity, or other regulatory flexibility.”
    So the working assumption is that these alternatives are better?

    One thing that get’s me about liberals – they love the idea of central planning, and of course they see themselves as the central planner

    • Ron Beitler says:

      Respectfully Jack, your reaction is knee jerk two reasons.
      1. Smart growth in my opinion is allowing MORE flexibility in regulations to get what a community wants. With this sort of program explained above it’s exchanging flexibility in one location for VOLUNTARY restrictions (compensated fair market value) in another place. All voluntary. It’s a TOOL to get flexibility.

      2. It’s not central planning it’s zoning. If you think we shouldn’t have zoning laws in this country then thats a whole other issue. It’s as much protecting your neighbors rights as it is yours. For that reason we do have zoning in the United States and I’d say a vast majority of Americans are appreciative that their neighbor can’t build a sewage plant next to their home. I personally advocate for form based zoning as opposed to rigid Euclidean. Euclidean is arbitrary in alot of ways. I don’t like arbitrary. It’s not fair.

      For the record this is a mechanism that is an alternative to zoning restrictions as a mechanism for preservations. With a TDR program you preserve not by restricting landowner rights but by compensating fairly and allowing a market for intensity/density. At it’s core it’s a very conservative market driven solution.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      This is the most market-based of farmland preservation programs. It involves the least amount of central planning.

  3. Jack I agree with you 100% about Liberals. I look at this though as providing increased flexibility to landowners, something I support.

    Geeting will find out shortly that it won’t work because the city school districts and fire/police coverage are insufficient and massive tax increases will be necessary. He’ll then trot out regionalization (which in Liberal-speak means confiscating money from the suburbs and flushing it down a city toilet) – that’s where this all falls apart.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Regional tax bases and land use planning would make this work better of course, but all that really needs to happen is for a few governments to approve receiving areas where developers can cash in their air rights, no hassle. Ideally that would be in the Allentown NIZ, Southside Bethlehem brownfields, the West Broad St/Hanover Ave corridor, and some of the CBDs in the boroughs.

      • It wont’ work at all without crushing tax rates in the suburbs. You know it, and I know it, and you’re counting on it so that your grand plan of destroying lives, towns, businesses and communities comes true.

        • Jon Geeting says:

          I think the property tax rates should all be the same across the region. Just take the County tax rate, and raise it proportionally to pay for schools and municipal services in addition to County services.

          • And go back and read all you wrote about how you want to crush businesses, crush towns, and force everyone to bow to your version of what is right.

            Mr. Beitler, be careful who you get in bed with. I’d suggest going back and reading Jon’s posts to gain a proper perspective of the hate and vitriol he has, the damage he’s willing to do and the lives he’s willing to destroy for his version of a correct world.

            It’s scary.

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