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Enrolling a Property in the TDR Program

Enrolling a Property in the TDR Program

Enrollment in the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program happens in three stages:

  1. Once you (the landowner) have decided you want to transfer development rights from your property, you wil need to determine sending site eligibility (see sending site information).
  2. King County reviews application materials and supporting documents (e.g. title report, permit history, etc.) and then "qualifies" the property to transfer development rights.
  3. King County "certifies" your TDRs at which time they are available to transfer, and a conservation easement is placed over the sending site to protect the property from future development according to the terms of the easement. (It is possible to reserve development rights on a sending site for future use.)

Each stage of the process has several steps. While timing will vary from site to site, it is usually possible to complete the entire process in 3-4 months. Detailed steps in the process include:

  1. Landowner discusses site eligibility with King County TDR Program staff
  2. Landowner completes and submits an application with application fee and supporting documents.
  3. King County reviews the title report.
  4. King County visits the site to ensure application materials reflect current land use at the site.
  5. King County completes a "Qualification Report" defining the public benefit achieved by limiting future development at the sending site.
  6. King County completes a "Present Conditions Report" which establishes baseline conditions at the site for use in comparing future land-use changes. Depending on the type of property, a Forest Stewardship Plan or Farm Plan may be required instead.
  7. King County drafts (and the landowner reviews) a conservation easement, which will protect the sending site from future development in perpetuity (forever!).
  8. The landowner signs the conservation easement in the presence of a notary public.
  9. King County signs the conservation easement and it is recorded at the Recorder's Office; at the same time, the Recorder's Office enters the TDR Certificate into public record, and sends the original to the landowner.

The process does not always proceed exactly in this order, but each of the steps are required.

For questions about the TDR Program, please contact Nicholas Bratton, TDR Program Manager, or Anne-Gigi Chan, Land Conservation Project Manager, King County WLRD Rural and Regional Services Section.