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Ellensburg, WA 98926-2887
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Kittitas (pronounced 'KITT-i-tass') County is located in central Washington
State. It spans from the lush forested Cascade Mountains to the upper Yakima River Valley plains and
the Columbia River.
Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program
TDR Program Overview
TDR Market Information
Sending Site Information
Receiving Site Information
Glossary of TDR Terms
Kittitas County's TDR program aims to conserve valuable resource lands by
transferring development potential from those areas to areas better suited to
accept increased residential density. To achieve this goal, owners of qualified
rural lands can choose to separate some or all of their unused development
rights from their property and sell them to a developer who can use them to
increase density at a qualified receiving site. At the same time that
development rights are transferred from a sending site, a permanent conservation
easement is placed on the sending parcel.
Properties qualified to send TDRs must provide a benefit to the public by
preserving lands that are either:
By selling development rights, landowners achieve an economic return on their
property while maintaining ownership of the land and conserving it for farming,
forestry, habitat, recreation, or open space in perpetuity.
Many people who own land in the rural area would like to keep their land open
for forestry, agriculture, or wildlife habitat benefits. However, because of
rising land values, the economic pressure to subdivide and sell off pieces of the
land is very strong. By becoming a sending site, a landowner can retain
ownership of their land for forestry or farming while gaining some monetary
benefit from selling off the development rights. It is also possible to reduce
your property taxes by transferring development rights from your property.
Enrollment in the TDR program happens in several stages:
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 three to four
months. Detailed steps in the process include:
After the TDR Certificates are initially issued and sold, they become a commodity that can be bought
and sold multiple times. 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.
The process does not always proceed exactly in this order and some of the steps
may not be required under special circumstances. The steps involving a buyer are
not necessary when a landowner does not desire to sell the TDR Certificate(s).
Landowners may want to use their TDR Certificate(s) for their own development
applications that increase density on other parcel(s) that they also own or may
want to hold on to their TDR Certificates depending on market conditions.
The first step in the enrollment process is to complete a Sending Site
Application. Download an application below and return it to the address on the
application with a check for $400 to Kittitas County Community Development
Services, and include the required information and supporting documents.
TDR Sending Site Certification
If your sending site is farm and agricultural land, it must be evaluated with proof of commercial agricultural
income that meet the same requirements as for Current Use Agricultural taxation under
Please attach this proof of income with the TDR application. See the http://www.dor.wa.gov
website for more information on income requirements.
If your sending site is forest land, it must be evaluated with a Timber Management Plan for the property.
The Timber Management Plan must be in compliance with Washington State Department of Revenue's guidelines
dated June 2010 or as thereafter amended. See the http://www.dor.wa.gov
for more information on Timber Management Plan requirements.
Kittitas County has a total area of 2,333 square miles. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet above sea level.