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The owners of properties located within environmentally or historically significant areas - known as sending areas - may sell the development potential of their properties to owners of property located in areas more suitable for development, known as receiving areas.
The sending area property owner maintains ownership of the underlying land, but must agree to record a Conservation Easement on the property that protects the resource and restricts future development of the property. The owner of the receiving area property may then increase the permitted density on their property according to the number of development rights purchased, thereby transferring the development potential from the sending area property to the receiving area property.
The price of a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is determined on the private market between the buyer and seller. The price fluctuates as the demand for TDRs changes.
The number of Transfers of Development Rights (TDRs) granted per acre of eligible sending area is based on the site's underlying zoning. In general, where the zoning permits more intense development, an acre of eligible sending area is granted more TDRs.
For example, properties in the Urban Recreation (UR) zoning district are permitted only very low density development and therefore receive fewer Development Rights per acre than land zoned for higher intensity use, such as land in Redmond's Downtown. See Redmond Zoning Code 21.48.010(E) for details.
The following summarizes the necessary steps for selling Transfers of Development Rights (TDRs) if you own property in an eligible sending area.
You may, at any time, submit to the Planning Department an application requesting the issuance of a Certificate of Development Rights. You will need to provide proof of title to the property, and a general description of the land that you would like to enroll in this program. You may enroll all or a portion of your property.
For properties that meet the requirements of the program, the city will issue a TDR Certificate that can then be retained by you or sold or transferred to any interested buyer. You will need to provide a legal description of the land to be enrolled before the City can issue a TDR Certificate.
Before you sell or transfer the TDR certificate, you must record a conservation easement against that portion of the property that is being enrolled in the program. The conservation easement is granted to the City of Redmond and limits the use of the property for future development.
Once you and a willing buyer agree on terms of a purchase and sale, you must execute and record a deed transferring ownership of the development rights. While you will remain the underlying landowner (unless you sell the underlying land to a third party), the buyer of the TDRs becomes the owner of the development rights, which may be used to increase development density on land located within designated receiving areas.
Surveying the property and recording the conservation easement may take a few weeks.
As a property owner in a receiving area, the first step is to acquire transferable development rights. That can occur once you have agreed to the terms of purchase and sale of Transfers of Development Rights TDRs with a sending area property owner, and the conservation easement and a deed memorializing that transaction have been recorded. Contact Jason Rogers for a list of potential TDR sellers.
Next, you may submit an application to develop your land together with notation describing the development proposed, the zoning classification of the property, the amount and serial number of the development rights used, how the development rights are proposed to be used, and a notation of the recording number of the conservation easement on file with King County.
Using TDRs on your development should not add to the total project review time. However, the amount of time it takes you to find a willing TDR will vary based on market conditions. It may take only a few days, or it could take months.
In general, sending areas are located along:
Of those, only streams, stream buffers, and steep slopes can be accurately mapped. Other properties are evaluated for sending area potential at the time a property owner requests enrolling land in the Transfer of Development Rights program.
Receiving areas include properties within Downtown, and properties zoned
These areas were selected because they are suitable for urban development, and because they already have adequate or easily obtainable infrastructure necessary to accommodate the additional density.
Any person or organization may purchase development rights. Property owners in receiving areas are the most likely buyers since they have a ready use for the Transfer of Development Rights program, but ownership of such property is not a requirement.
For complete details regarding this program and requirements, please refer to Redmond Zoning Code 21.48. For complete details and assistance in submitting an application to establish Transfers of Development Rights on qualifying sending area properties, contact Janet Lee, who maintains a list of owners who are interested in transferring development rights.