The Regional Transfer of Development Rights Alliance is a partnership of King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Kitsap County Forterra (formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy), the Washington State Department of Commerce and the Puget Sound Regional Council.

The Alliance works to encourage cities to participate in the conservation of farm, forestry and open space land through Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) in the four central Puget Sound counties (King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap). The Department of Commerce is an active partner, providing direct technical assistance to counties and cities in the four-county central Puget Sound region.

King County and the City of Seattle received a “Lifetime of GMA Achievement Award” Oct. 13, 2015 at the 25th Anniversary of the GMA Event for the 2013 Transfer of Development Rights Agreement. “The project is one of the best examples of successful planning in the 25 years since the passage of the Growth Management Act,” said Brian Bonlender, the director of Commerce. “TDR is a unique and truly excellent tool.”

In June 2013, the Alliance submitted its final report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Titled Regional Transfer of Development Rights in Puget Sound, it highlights the regional accomplishments of TDR programs in Western Washington and the benefits of TDR programs in general.

Regional Transfer of Development Rights in Puget Sound:  A Regional Alliance of Puget Sound Counties, Cities, the Puget Sound Regional Council, Forterra and Department of Commerce – June 2013

Creating a Regional Transfer of Development Rights Program for Central Puget Sound:  Recommendations from the Transfer of Development Rights Policy Advisory Committee – December 2008

Local Implementation

Example Criteria

  • Watershed Characterization
  • Washington Department of Ecology has guidance for planners and resources to identify the areas of the landscape that are important or key for maintaining watershed processes. Protecting Aquatic Ecosystems: A Guide for Puget Sound Planners to Understand Watershed Processes (PDF)
  • Ecology has created GIS layers and maps for all 19 Water Resource Inventory Areas in the Puget Sound basin using watershed characterization methods. The maps identify areas most suitable for protection, restoration or development based on the importance and impairment of waterflow in each watershed.
    Contact Stephen Stanley or Susan Grigsby at the Department of Ecology for more information.

Priority Habitats and Species

  • http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/pub.php?id=00165
    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) maintains a list of species and habitats in Washington state that are highly vulnerable to land use activities. The list is supported by databases of species and habitat locations that can be used for identifying sending areas.
  • Local Habitat Assessment
    WDFW has developed a habitat assessment tool that ranks relative habitat value across a whole county or watershed. The Local Habitat Assessment, or LHA, methodology produces a color-coded map that is easy to interpret and use to inform sending areas with the greatest habitat value. An LHA is available upon request.
  • Landscape Planning for Washington’s Wildlife (PDF)-
    WDFW developed guidance to help local land use and conservation planners consider biodiversity in the planning process. This document recommends use of TDRs to minimize the impacts of development to conserve biodiversity and provides information for identifying sending areas that will best serve wildlife.
  • Natural Resource Land Trends in Central Puget Sound
    Puget Sound Regional Council November 2011 Natural Resources Lands Trends Report

The law authorizes the Regional TDR program and directs the Department of Commerce to develop program performance measures.   The Regional TDR Alliance has developed these measures that counties and cities will report biannually to Commerce for posting here.  The law authorizes the Regional TDR program and directs the Department of Commerce to develop program performance measures.   The Regional TDR Alliance has developed these measures that counties and cities will report biannually to Commerce for posting here.  The following cities and one county have conducted market analyses to prepare for planning for receiving areas.