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The purpose of the transfer of development rights program is to provide a voluntary, incentive-based process for permanently preserving rural resource and Urban Separator lands that provide a public benefit. The TDR provisions are intended to supplement land use regulations, resource protection efforts and open space acquisition programs and to encourage increased residential development density, especially inside cities, where it can best be accommodated with the least impacts on the natural environment and public services.

The TDR provisions shall only apply to TDR receiving site development proposals submitted on or after September 17, 2001 and applications for approval of TDR sending sites submitted on or after September 17, 2001.

IMPORTANT: The code in the link below does not reflect any changes that may have been made since December 2008.

King County Code Chapter 21A.37  (PDF file 67 KB) describes the rules and regulations for the Transfer of Development Rights Program.


  • 21A.37.010 >  purpose.
  • 21A.37.020 >  sending sites.
  • 21A.37.030 >  receiving sites.
  • 21A.37.040 >  calculations.
  • 21A.37.050 >  development limitations.
  • 21A.37.055 >  greenhouse gas emissions calculations for urban receiving sites.
  • 21A.37.060 >  documentation of restrictions.
  • 21A.37.070 >  sending site certification and interagency review committee process.
  • 21A.37.080 >  transfer process.
  • 21A.37.090 >  notice.
  • 21A.37.100 > TDR bank - purpose.
  • 21A.37.110 > TDR bank expenditure and purchase authorization.
  • 21A.37.120 >  administration of TDR bank.
  • 21A.37.130 >  sale of TDR rights by TDR bank.
  • 21A.37.140 >  requirements for transfers by the TDR bank for use in incorporated receiving areas.
  • 21A.37.150 >  restrictions on expenditure of TDR bank funds on TDR amenities.
  • 21A.37.160 >  establishment and duties of the TDR executive board.
  • 21A.37.170 >  exemption from surplus provisions.

Go to the King County Code website for links to all titles of the King County code.

If you have questions about TDR code, contact Megan Webb or Michael Murphy.