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 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.

Connect with us 

Mike Poteet
[email protected]
(253) 798-3614

  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 (Agricultural Resource Lands [ARL] zoned sending sites are not included). 

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