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Transfer of Development Rights Program - TDR

The TDR Program is a voluntary, incentive-based, and market-driven approach to preserve land and steer development growth away from rural and resource lands into King County’s Urban Area. The Program is based on free-market principles and prices that would motivate landowner and developer participation. Rural landowners realize economic return through the sale of development rights to private developers who are able to build more compactly in designated unincorporated urban areas and partner cities. The Program has protected over 144,500 acres of rural/resource land from 1998 to 2019.

This market in development rights allows rural landowners to receive financial compensation without having to sell or fully develop their land. Developers are financially motivated to purchase development rights from the TDR market as they are able to put additional dwelling units in their projects. TDRs have several non-density uses and benefits, as well.

You can also buy and sell TDRs on the TDR Exchange using information provided in the TDR Market Information section on this website.

For further information see the TDR Program Overview, or for specific questions not answered on the website please contact the staff people listed below, or consult the TDR Code.