Deschutes County, Oregon

Deschutes County, population 102,200, surrounds the City of Bend, 90 miles east of Eugene, Oregon. A large portion of the County lies within the Deschutes National Forest.

The unincorporated community of La Pine is located in southern Deschutes County near the Little Deschutes River. In the late 1990s, the Regional Problem Solving Project for South Deschutes County determined that a reduction in development in this area would address four problems: groundwater pollution, loss of wildlife habitat, threat of wildfire and air quality reductions from unpaved roads. To address these issues, the County created a TDC program that encourages the owners of land in the La Pine Urban Unincorporated Community (UUC) to preserve their land in return for the ability to sell transferable development credits (TDCs).

The County created a receiving area called the Neighborhood Planning Area in the La Pine UUC. Most of this 571-acre area was previously a Bureau of Land Management tract. A smaller portion was part of an Oregon Land Trust. The entire area was originally designed as forest resource land. But, to accommodate TDCs, the Neighborhood Planning Area can be developed as single family residential, multiple family residential, commercial and civic uses. The TDC program determines the number of credits that will be needed for a developer to obtain a building permit.

Under the Deschutes County TDC Program, sending area owners who wish to sell TDCs must receive County verification of the number of TDCs eligible for sale. Eligible properties cannot exceed two acres in size and must be capable of being served by on-site sewage disposal.

Each eligible sending area lot can receive one TDC. However, in the High Priority Deer Migration Corridor, owners can receive an extra one-half TDC per lot. In addition, the County Board can increase the allocation by resolution.

TDCs can be transferred to anyone. The County itself can purchase TDCs or options to purchase TDCs after a title report. If the TDCs are intended for sale to anyone other than the County, a Bargain and Sale Deed and a Restrictive Covenant must be recorded on the sending site.

The receiving areas are those portions of the Neighborhood Planning Area of the La Pine UUC zoned Residential General or Residential Center. The rate of transfer is approved by Board of County Commissioner Resolution. By resolution, the Board may adjust the number of TDCs required per acre or the factors for which TDCs are required in the receiving area. Receiving area landowners who choose not to use the TDC option can develop under baseline regulations.