Understanding Development Rights

The Pierce County Transfer of Development Rights Program (TDR) is a market-based program that shifts development rights from ecologically sensitive and resource rich lands (Sending Sites) to lands more suitable for development (Receiving Sites). This shift preserves rural and resource lands while redirecting growth to urban areas.

TDR programs are based on the concept that property owners have a bundle of rights, including the right to use land, lease, sell or give, and build on it. When a landowner sells property, generally all the rights are transferred to the buyer. A TDR allows landowners to transfer some or all of a parcel's development rights of to a different parcel of land.

For more detailed information, you can review Pierce County Code Title 18G. If you would like an estimate of how many Development Rights your Sending Site may have available or how many Development Rights your Receiving Site may require, please contact our staff.

Pierce County's TDR Bank currently has 67 Development Rights for sale, with an established base price of $14,179 each.

  1. Sending Sites
  2. Receiving Sites

Development rights are transferred from the sending site. Once the rights are transferred, the land is restricted with a permanent conservation easement. The number of development rights that may be sold from a sending site are calculated by using the base density of the underlying zone. 

Meeting Agendas and Minutes
  1. Agendas
  2. Minutes
Other Conservation Programs

Washington Farmland Trust

Washington Farmland Trust Tile


Forterra Tile

Pierce Conservation District

Pierce Conservation District Tile

Conservation Futures

Conservation Futures Tile

Great Peninsula Conservancy

Great Peninsula Tile

Nisqually Land Trust

Nisqually Land Trust Tile

The Nature Conservancy

Nature Conservancy Tile

American Farmland Trust

American Farmland Trust Tile