Transfer of Development Rights

We learned long ago that we will never be able to meet our conservation goals by relying on government and philanthropic funding alone. By employing tools like Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), a market-based mechanism that supports growth, while conserving working forest and prime agricultural areas, we can do much more toward making sure this place is healthy and resilient for future generations.

Farm Near Ellensburg Kittitas County
Photo by Matthew Simek

What is TDR?

Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is a market-based mechanism that promotes growth, while conserving working forest and prime agricultural areas.

Through individual, voluntary transactions, development rights are transferred from our region’s privately owned farmland, forestland and natural areas (sending sites) to areas that can accommodate additional growth (receiving sites). Landowners in sending areas have the option of selling the development potential from their property (but retaining ownership of the land), while developers in receiving areas pay for the right to a bonus in the receiving area, such as additional height or density than would otherwise be allowed. When development rights are removed from a parcel, a conservation easement is placed on the sending site.

Why consider TDR?

Private funding — TDR uses the market to generate private funding for land conservation, helping to augment and leverage available public funds and programs.

Permanence — While zoning regulations can change over time, TDR protects property permanently and allows resource uses to continue.

Cost effectiveness — By focusing development in areas that already have infrastructure capacity, TDR can reduce a region’s infrastructure & services costs and more efficiently accommodate growth.

Forterra TDR Activities

Forterra is actively involved in the design and implementation of TDR programs at the regional, county and city level. We have helped develop customized-TDR programs throughout the region, including programs in Pierce, Snohomish, Kittitas, Kitsap and Skagit Counties (in progress) as well as the cities of Seattle, Issaquah, Sammamish, Tacoma, Bellevue and Mountlake Terrace .

For more information contact:

Skip Swenson, Senior Managing Director, Policy at 206-905-6935 or by email.

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