Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program


If I purchase development rights, am I the only one who can use them?
No, you may sell them to someone else. Development rights may be bought and sold over and over. During each sales transaction, the certificate must be recorded. Once the TDR Certificates are provided to the County as a requirement for final approval of a land use application, it is considered redeemed and cannot be used again.
Do TDRs expire?
TDR Certificates do not expire; they are “good” until they are “redeemed” at a receiving site. After they are redeemed once they cannot be used again. A Certificate Letter of Intent expires after five years. If a Certificate Letter of Intent expires prior to the landowner obtaining the TDR Certificate, the landowner would be required to go through the TDR Sending Site application process as if it were a new application to obtain a new Certificate Letter of Intent.
Can I use development rights from any certified sending site?
Yes, you may use development rights from any sending site.
Do all TDRs from a receiving site need to come from the same sending site?
No, a receiving site project can use TDRs from multiple sending sites. If you need more development rights than a particular sending site has available, you can purchase additional rights from other sending sites.
Can TDRs from a single sending site go to more than one receiving site?
Yes, TDRs from a single sending site can be sold to multiple developers using them at multiple receiving sites.
Can TDRs be used at receiving sites within incorporated city limits?
Receiving sites within incorporated city limits are subject to interlocal agreements between the city and Kittitas County. At this time there are no agreements set up between any cities and the County. If any agreements are approved, they may contain additional rules for the designation of receiving sites and how development rights may be applied to a parcel. The TDR program will make every effort to track the various requirements and assist developers with obtaining rights that meet the specific criteria of their receiving site.
If I already have a house on my property, or if I would like to build a house in the future, can I still participate in the TDR program?
You may be able to participate in the TDR program if you have enough qualifying property. The property that can be used in the TDR program only includes the portion that is nonresidential and provides qualifying conservation values. Subtract the portion of the site reserved for residential use when calculating the number of development rights available on your property. After eliminating the area reserved for residential uses, determine if the site meets the minimum size requirements as required in KCC 17.13. For example, if your house is on an 80 acre lot in an area zoned Forest and Range - a zone with a minimum lot size of 20 acres, reduce the area available by 20 acres to be reserved for residential uses. Therefore, the qualifying acreage is 60 acres divided by the underlining zone minimum size of 20 acres, resulting in 3 TDR credits.
How many development rights can I get?
The zoning of a parcel and its physical size are used to calculate the number of development rights (TDR Certificates) that are attached to a parcel. To calculate the area that qualifies for TDRs, you must subtract acreage reserved for residential use or area reserved for future development. For example, if one home is located on an 80-acre parcel in an area with 20 acre zoning, 20 acres must be set aside for the home and the remaining 60-acres would qualify for the TDR program.
How do qualified Sending Site landowners sell their TDR Certificates?
The TDR Certificates can be bought and sold just as land is bought and sold. A landowner can find a seller using a variety of methods similar to how real estate or water rights are sold. Potential buyers include large land developers who may be considering creating additional density in one of their developments. Start by contacting County staff and ask if they have been contacted by any potential buyers.
How do I apply to become a sending site?
You can review the steps of the TDR enrollment process or contact CDS Staff for more information.