Egypt Creek
Egypt Creek

Egypt Creek: Development Rights Transferred


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Palmyra Township updated its comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances in 2009. With an eye toward conserving its green space and sustainable development, the Township incorporated the ‘transfer of development rights’ into its zoning ordinances.

This means that now, a landowner or developer can choose to permanently protect a large tract of land but still maintain the ability to profit from development. Leading developer Sam Shahar took advantage of this opportunity for community-minded development when he transferred the development rights from his 58-acre parcel of land called Egypt Creek, in Paupack on Route 390, to the area around 507, where residential infrastructure already exists.

The 58-acre parcel of forested land containing important freshwater resources is now permanently protected with a conservation easement, which the Conservancy will hold and monitor.

By severing development rights from a parcel of unimproved open space and transferring them to a parcel located where development infrastructure already exists, a developer can realize the development profit of that parcel while contributing to ecological health and scenic beauty of the community.

In the transfer of development rights, everybody wins. A developer or landowner maintains the ability to build and profit from it, while acting as a responsible community member invested in the larger goals of conservation and sustainability. The community as a whole benefits when lands with important natural resources and scenic green space that might have been developed are permanently protected. Incorporating the possibility for transfer of development rights into its zoning ordinances, Palmyra Township sets a conservation-minded example for other communities committed to sustainable development—and to maintaining their environmental health, scenic beauty, and quality of life.