Journal Article

Zoning, TDRs, and the Density of Development

May 1, 2006 | Virginia McConnell, Margaret A. Walls, Elizabeth A. Kopits


In this paper, we explore the effect of low-density zoning regulations and other factors on subdivision density. Using a unique dataset of new subdivisions built over a 34-year period in Calvert County, Maryland, we econometrically estimate a density function using both ordinary-least-squares (OLS) and censored regression. The variability in density permitted by the county’s zoning and transferable development right (TDR) rules over the sample period allows us to assess the relative importance of market factors and regulatory constraints on density. We use the censored model to predict what density patterns would have been without zoning.