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Clallam County, Washington

Clallam County, population 67,500, forms the northern end of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Its TDR ordinance is designed to preserve agricultural lands in the Sequim-Dungeness planning area, which at one time specialized in dairy farms. The TDR ordinance is used to preserve critical environmental areas in the Port Angeles planning area, which serves as a gateway to Olympic National Park.

The Olympic Mountains serve as a backdrop for farmland
in the Dungeness River Valley

Qualifying sending areas are designated Agricultural on the Sequim-Dungeness Regional Comprehensive Plan and Very Low Density/Open Space or Open Space Overlay Corridor on the Port Angeles Regional Comprehensive Plan. In the Agricultural designation, allocation is at the rate of one TDR per 3.33 acres placed under conservation easement and one TDR per five acres when a conservation easement is not used. On land designated Very Low Density/Open Space or Open Space Overlay Corridor, the number of TDRs available for transfer equals the number of dwelling units allowed by base zoning.

Shoreline in the Port Angeles Planning Area

In response to an application from a sending area landowner, the County issues a TDR certificate indicating the number of available development rights. TDRs can only be conveyed after recordation of a TDR Easement and the execution and recordation of a Deed of Transfer. Clallam County creates special provisions for “intermediate transfers”, or TDRs held by an intermediary before they are used in a receiving area parcel. Although TDRs in an intermediate transfer are appurtenant to the sending area parcel, the Clallam County ordinance explains that the owner of the TDRs are responsible for paying taxes due on these TDRs. If the County eliminates the TDR program or otherwise makes it impossible for owners of unused, certified TDRs to use those TDRs, the ordinance requires the County to compensate the owners for the exact cost.

The receiving areas for TDRs from sending areas in the Sequim-Dungeness planning area are the Sequim Residential II, III and IV Zones. Through TDR, density can go from two units per acre to five units per acre in the Residential II zone, from four units to ten units in the Residential III zone and from four units to 16 units in the Residential IV zone.

The receiving area for TDRs from sending areas in the Port Angeles planning area are parcels in the Port Angeles Urban Very Low Density/Urban Low Density zone. In this zone, TDR can be used to increase maximum density from two units per acre without TDR to nine units per acre with TDR.