A local governing body will negotiate a sale of the right to develop a property with a land owner in order to preserve the land in a undeveloped state. The owners other rights to the land remain unchanged but the community will control any development that can occur on the property.
Because it is a volunteer program, it scores high marks for political acceptance. It also allows the community to pay only for the rights they wish to control and not to require them to manage the property. Once the development rights have been sold, the tax valuation of the property is not influenced by other development in the area giving land owners stability in what to expect in terms of taxes.
There is a significant amount of money required to acquire the development rights of a property and the funds for such a purchase come from some sort of tax revenue. Some see this as an agricultural subsidy.
Example 1: Ohio
Description: An introduction to PDRs and an overview of establishing and operating a system.
Example 2: Wisconsin
Description: Overview of Purchase of Development Rights in Wisconsin and a case study of 2 examples.
Example 3: Ann Arbor, MI
Description: Ann Arbor's PDR program