Transfer of Development Rights (TDR)
TDR programs use market forces to fund the conservation of important resource lands. The program allows resource landowners within designated sending areas to sell the development value of their land and keep the right to use their land in ways that won’t impair its natural resource use. Landowners and developers who purchase development rights from sending area landowners can use them to develop land within designated "receiving areas" where intense land uses are more appropriate.
The Snohomish County Council adopted countywide TDR regulations that became effective on October 19, 2013. The countywide TDR regulations, located in Chapter 30.35A of Snohomish County Code, require that all county designated farm and forest lands on the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map are designated TDR sending areas. The county council can designate additional sending areas that have significant conservation values. Rural lands can opt into TDR if they meet requirements and are redesignated to farm or forest land.
Development rights are removed from a sending site by a conservation easement that runs with the land and prohibits any subdivision, short subdivision, boundary line adjustment, or construction of any new single family or other primary residence. The landowner would retain fee simple ownership of the property and the right to use the property for any other uses allowed by the underlying resource zone.
TDR credits allow additional development in receiving areas in unincorporated Snohomish County. The amount of additional development allowed varies based on the source of the TDR credit (farm or forest) and the receiving area.
TDR receiving areas include cities, urban centers, rural rezones and areas where comprehensive plan or development code changes increase the allowable number of lots or dwelling units.
The existing Arlington TDR pilot program is continued. Sending area owners eligible for the Arlington pilot program have the option to participate in either the countywide program or the pilot program.