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 to lands more suitable for development. This shift preserves these 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 the development right(s) of one parcel of land to a different parcel of land.
For more detailed information, you can review Pierce County Code Title 18G, consult this Informational Handout or view this PowerPoint. If you would like to estimate how many Development Rights your Receiving Site may require to proceed with a new project, here is a TDR Credit Calculator (Excel).
Pierce County currently has 67 Development Rights for sale, with an approximate value of $10,000 each.
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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 (Agricultural Resource Lands [ARL] zoned sending sites are not included).
Development rights are transferred to the receiving site. Buying these rights generally allows the owner of the receiving parcel to build at a higher density than ordinarily permitted by the base zoning.
Pierce County has a list of TDR receiving sites (in unincorporated Pierce County) resulting from approved Comprehensive Plan Amendment(s). If you would like specific information about these receiving sites, or want to contact a receiving site landowner(s), please use our TDR Contact Request Form. Please visit the Pierce County Public Geographical Information System database for more information about receiving site areas.