Board of Commissioners

Purchase Development Rights (PDR)

History of the PDR Effort in Kent County

In his January 2000 State of the County address, Board of Commissioners Chair Steve Heacock outlined several initiatives, one of which established the Urban Sprawl subcommittee. Led by Commissioner Tom Postmus, the subcommittee's mission was to learn how county government can impact urban sprawl and to recommend a position regarding urban sprawl to the County Board of Commissioners.

barn and tree

After months of collecting information and interviewing local residents and experts, the subcommittee brought its report and recommendations to the Board of Commissioners in September 2001. The committee defined urban sprawl as the rapid urbanization of rural areas and green space, and recommended the following to the Board:

  • The County should work closely with the Grand Valley Metro Council (GVMC) on the Blueprint II initiative.
  • The County should establish a Green Space Preservation Program, including the protection of productive farmland.
  • County staff should work with local units of government to maximize residential density adjacent to County parks.
  • Kent County should engage in educating residents about local sprawl issues and impacts on the community.
  • Kent County should establish consistent countywide standards for stormwater drainage and sanitary sewer systems.
  • The Board of Commissioners should support the United Growth for Kent County initiative with a resolution of support.

As part of the green space preservation recommendation, the Board of Commissioners approved the establishment of a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program. Two citizen committees, the PDR Workgroup and Taskforce, were established to develop a proposal for the structure of a Kent County PDR Program. David Skjaerlund and Stacy Sheridan with Rural Partners of Michigan were contracted to facilitate the development of a PDR program. In addition, Grand Valley Metro Council was contracted to provide technical assistance to this effort.