Local Government Process for Creating a TID

TIDs can complement other local government planning initiatives already underway. A TID may be proposed in conjunction with planning for a Downtown Development District (DDD) or preparing a master plan, which spells out the details of, and responsibilities for, the provision of infrastructure—including transportation. There may be several paths or avenues to achieve the creation of a TID that meet the criteria of the amended Standards and Regulations for Subdivision Streets and State Highway Access. The following process is informed by DelDOT’s amended regulations and provides a step-by-step method to create and implement a TID.

Transportation Improvement District near Christiana Mall and Churchmans Road

Credit: James Pernol, DelDOT

Step 1: Review state, local, and MPO plans and policies

Map of Kent County, Del. TIDs

Map of Kent County, Del. TIDs
Source: 2007 Kent County Comprehensive Plan

Essential to the creation of a TID is the development of a comprehensive and specific land use and transportation plan within the geographic area of the District. A local government should first consider whether the location of a proposed TID is within an Investment Level 1, 2, or 3 area in the Strategies for State Policies and Spending and a planned municipal or county growth area.

In addition, because it may be desirable for the TID to include lands under the jurisdiction of more than one local government, it is critical to review existing comprehensive plans of nearby jurisdictions and the long-range transportation plan of the region’s MPO. For example, the transportation chapter of the 2007 Kent County Comprehensive Plan identifies and maps 11 TIDs where the “County, DelDOT, the MPO, and the community will develop a more complete plan addressing a larger area for transportation improvements including road upgrades, interconnection of local roads, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.” The need to create TIDs on a regional basis was also addressed within Dover/Kent County MPO’s Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) 2040 update (adopted January 2013). The MTP recommended that “existing standard of requiring traffic impact studies for individual developments should be replaced by the TID master plan…”

City of Dover planners recognized the need for the creation of a TID along a major transportation corridor within its jurisdiction in Kent County. This proposed TID was not adequately addressed in either the Kent County or Dover/Kent County MPO’s plans. City of Dover officials prepared a Comprehensive Plan amendment and TID Agreement with DelDOT to bring the TID to fruition.

Step 2: Collaborate with local, state, regional planning officials

Delaware state law encourages the coordination of planning and development activities among local governments, regional entities, and state government agencies. Local governments should work collaboratively with DelDOT, the regional MPO, and OSPC to identify how all respective plans, policies, procedures, standards, studies, and regulations can be improved to support effective land use and transportation solutions—including a TID.

Because a TID may transcend local government boundaries, it may encompass lands of more than one jurisdiction. TIDs are created by agreement between DelDOT, the relevant local government(s), and possibly the federally designated MPO responsible for coordinating transportation planning and programming in the proposed TID area. A local government needs to contact the appropriate planning professional at these entities to begin the process of creating a TID and its required elements. In addition, a local government may wish to contact its OSPC circuit-rider planner for assistance when a TID is proposed as part of an amendment or update to a Comprehensive Plan, or as part of a master planning process.

Step 3: Determine whether a TID should be created as part of a Master Plan or Land Use and Transportation Plan

Guide for Master Planning in Delaware

Guide for Master Planning in Delaware, Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination

Local government(s), the MPO, and DelDOT need to proactively align land use and transportation improvements. The first consideration is deciding the boundaries and target year for completion of the TID. Once these are set, there are two ways to proceed—a Master Plan or a Land Use and Transportation Plan (LUTP).

  • Master Plan Option – Where possible, it is recommended that creation of a TID be part of master plan. As described in the Guide for Master Planning in Delaware, master plans are more detailed than comprehensive plans, and include:
    • Build-out calculations—number of homes, square footage of offices and retail stores;
    • Infrastructure needs and costs—road improvements, water and sewer extensions; and
    • Phasing and coordination of infrastructure provision with development.

Master planning brings all stakeholders together, includes significant public engagement, and is not constrained by jurisdictional boundaries. A master plan developed for a TID area will ideally “identify access, general improvements and needed infrastructure, and guide growth and development over a number of years and in phases.” The Guide provides examples of TIDs established in the master planned areas of Churchman’s Crossing and Middletown’s Westown area.

  • Land Use Transportation Plan (LUTP) Option – A local government can also choose to develop a LUTP for the TID. At a minimum, the LUTP requires a local government to provide a parcel-specific land-use forecast inside the boundaries of a TID. Smaller jurisdictions should seek assistance from MPO or DelDOT to develop this forecast. DelDOT models the forecast’s effects on transportation to determine the improvements needed to meet agreed-upon service standards. Together the parcel-specific land-use forecast and the needed improvements determine the LUTP.

Step 4: Amend or update the Comprehensive Plan

Section 2.13.27 of DelDOT’s regulations says, in part that “the [local government’s] Comprehensive Plan(s) should list and map any TIDs…” Therefore, a local government should:

  • Consider whether a comprehensive plan amendment or update is needed – Local government comprehensive plans articulate general guidelines for achieving growth, development, and desired land use patterns. Delaware law prescribes the contents of comprehensive plans and the frequency with which they are to be reviewed or adopted. Because land use, growth management, and transportation planning are inextricably linked, planning for TIDs must be incorporated into and consistent with a local government’s comprehensive plan. State law requires that comprehensive plans be revised, updated and amended as necessary. A plan should be reviewed every five years and re-adopted every ten years. TIDs can be incorporated into a local government comprehensive plan as an:
    • Amendment – Each Delaware local government must review its adopted comprehensive plan at least every five years to determine if its provisions are still relevant. A comprehensive plan may be amended during the review period or as needed to specifically create a TID. Any amendment should at a minimum include a narrative describing the area of the TID, the goals it seeks to accomplish, and revised map to identify the location of a TID and its boundaries.
    • Update – An adopted comprehensive plan must be also be revised, updated, and readopted at least every 10 years. If the TID is incorporated during the periodic 5-year review or 10-year re-adoption it can be added to the element/chapter concerning transportation planning. Policy direction and implementation strategies for the creation of a TID may discussed in the transportation element/chapter and other sections such as the Vision, Land Use, Intergovernmental Cooperation, and possibly the Economic Development. Maps within the comprehensive plan should delineate planned locations and boundaries of TIDs in relation to growth zones (e.g., State Strategy Level 1, 2, and 3 areas).
  • Engage the public – A TID must go through local public participation process as it is being developed. As with any planning process, it is essential to gain continuous public input and involve diverse stakeholders from the initial planning stages. Early involvement can build consensus on the need to amend/update a comprehensive plan, set forth a change in land use that has implications for transportation, or initiate plans for transportation improvements that support economic investment and development. A planning commission, and other boards or committees that serve an advisory role to elected officials must be involved in planning for a TID, and must recommend any changes to a comprehensive plan. Prior to adoption of a comprehensive plan amendment or update by the governing body, direct input is needed from the community through public workshops, forums, and hearings.

A TID must go through local public participation process as it is being developed.

Smyrna Charrette  Credit/Source: McCormick Taylor, Inc.

Smyrna Charrette
Credit/Source: McCormick Taylor, Inc.

  • Undergo a PLUS Process Review – Once approved locally, the comprehensive plan amendment or update must be submitted to OSPC under the Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS) process prior to official state adoption.

Step 5: Consider the required and recommended elements of a TID

Required TID Elements that must be considered by a local government, according to DelDOT’s regulations, include a:

  • Land Use and Transportation Plan – As previously described, the development of a specific LUTP within a designated geographic area, OR the creation of a master plan, is essential to the creation of a TID.
  • TID Agreement – A local government needs to enter into a written agreement with DelDOT (and its MPO and other jurisdictions if appropriate). The agreement needs to address:
    • Initial boundaries, target horizon year for the TID and procedures for amending them;
    • Roles and responsibilities for creating the LUTP
    • Service standards to be used in developing the LUTP
    • Implementation of transportation improvements identified in the LUTP
  • Boundaries of the TID – A TID must have distinct boundaries and follow geographic features that are easily identified and rarely altered but are not roads. TID boundaries should also follow Traffic Analysis Zone (TAZ) boundaries.
  • Target Horizon Year – Because this is based on a forecast of land use, the target is generally 20 years from the creation of the TID.
  • Land Use Forecast The land use and transportation plan for the TID must include a quantitative assessment of development that has been approved, pending approval, or projected by the target horizon year.
  • Service Standards – With input from the public, DelDOT and the local government(s) will establish service standards to determine the necessary transportation improvements and investments required for the TID. The regulations state that “Service standards may include Levels of Service but should also include desired typical sections for local, collector and arterial streets, and standards for the presence and frequency of transit service.”
  • Adoption in the Local Governments’ Comprehensive Plan – As previously mentioned, an update or amendment to a Comprehensive Plan(s) should list and map any TIDs, and incorporate by reference any completed LUTPs and TID agreements.
  • Infrastructure Fee Program – This impact fee establishes a formula that fairly apportions costs of transportation improvements to developers in the TID to pay for necessary transportation improvements.
Credit: James Pernol, DelDOT

Credit: James Pernol, DelDOT

Recommended Elements
  • Creating a TID as part of the development of a master plan
  • Including a program for monitoring conditions in the TID
  • Including the local MPO as a party to a TID agreement
  • Considering the need for a build-out analysis (if the build out is expected by the target horizon year)

Step 6: Implement the TID

The local government’s role does not stop at simply identifying and mapping potential TID areas within a Comprehensive Plan update or amendment. To implement the TID, a local government must:

  • Enter into a TID Agreement – The TID agreement is essentially a parent document that outlines how the parties—DelDOT, local government(s), and MPO—will work together to create and maintain the TID. DelDOT has prepared a TID agreement template that includes all the required elements of a TID. The TID Agreement states that all parties will work together to create:
    • A land-use transportation plan (LUTP) or Master Plan
    • A TID-specific Capital Transportation Plan (TID-CTP)
    • An infrastructure fee program
  • Prepare a TID Capital Transportation Program –DelDOT will develop cost estimates for transportation improvements and TID-specific projects. Together, these projects and cost estimates, as approved by the local government, comprise the TID Capital Transportation Program (TID-CTP). Local governments, working in collaboration with its MPO, can make the case for including projects from its TID-specific CTP into DelDOT’s long-term Capital Transportation Program. Following completion of the TID-CTP, the TID agreement can be amended to provide for a monitoring program. The monitoring program is a mechanism for determining when there is a need to add projects from the TID-CTP into DelDOT’s Capital Transportation Program.
  • Establish an Infrastructure Fee Program – The intent of the infrastructure fee program is to fairly allocate the costs of transportation improvements among new developments within a TID. A fee formula is established that requires developers in the TID to fund necessary transportation improvements either in the form of cash payments, construction of physical improvements, dedication of land for public rights-of-way, or a combination of the three. Using those cost estimates an Infrastructure Fee Program is established. As determined by the Program, developers pay a “fair share” portion of transportation improvements. Developers can “pay into” the program either by 1) a cash payment, 2) construction of infrastructure, 3) land needed for right-of-way or some combination of the three. Typically, local governments are responsible for the collection of fees from developers.
Credit: James Pernol, DelDOT

Credit: James Pernol, DelDOT


Back to TID Planning Framework | Next to Delaware Local Government TID Best Practices

Comments are closed