By Jonathon Lubrano, VCPC graduate research fellow
On January 19, William & Mary Law School students in the Virginia Coastal Policy Center, Michael Killius and Jessica Lung, gave a presentation to the Mathews County Planning Commission on the potential use of transferable development rights (TDRs) in responding to the challenges of sea level rise and recurrent flooding.
TDRs are used to help protect a landowner’s investment in property by allowing the sale or transfer of the rights to develop that land for use by another on another property. Killius and Lung proposed that this tool could be used to reduce the financial burden of recurrent flooding in Mathews County.
Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission Executive Director Lewie Lawrence says that small coastal localities like Mathews, VA depend on citizen volunteers to serve on the local planning commission.
“Coastal land use and community planning is complicated enough, but mix in sea level rise and flooding and communities like Mathews find themselves asking about new approaches to remain economically viable and culturally relevant,” Lawrence says.
“New approaches require new thinking, which generate new legal land use questions. The student lawyers used innovation, creativity, and professionalism to convey new approaches and new ways of blending economic development, coastal resiliency and TDR program development into new concepts for consideration,” says Lawrence of the presentation by Killius and Lung. “These student lawyers are acting like a dimmer switch, slowly illuminating new ideas for new public policy.”