TDR Updates

Use the links below to access full profiles of the 282 US TDR programs found in Smart Climate Action through Transfer of Development Rights followed by profiles of TDR programs in 36 communities outside the US. For a brief description of the TDR mechanism, please refer to the explanation following the list of TDR program profiles.


Acton, Massachusetts

Adams County, Colorado

Agua Caliente Tribe, California

Agoura Hills, California

Alachua County, Florida

American Fork, Utah

Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington, Washington

Aspen, Colorado

Atlanta, Georgia

Austin, Texas

Avon, Connecticut

Bainbridge Island, Washington

Bay County, Florida

Bay Harbor Islands, Florida

Beaufort County, South Carolina

Bellevue, Washington

Bellingham, Washington

Belmont, California

Berkeley Township, Ocean County, New Jersey

Bernards Township, New Jersey

Birmingham, Michigan

Birmingham Township, Chester County, PA

Blacksburg, Virginia

Blaine County, Idaho

Black Diamond, Washington

Blue Earth County, Minnesota

Bluffton, South Carolina

Brentwood, California

Brevard County, Florida

Brisbane, California

Brookhaven, New York

Brunswick, Maine

Buckingham Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Burbank, California

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Caroline County, Maryland

Carroll County, Maryland

Carver, Massachusetts

Cave Creek, Arizona

Cecil County, Maryland

Chanceford Township, York County, Pennsylvania

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Charles County, Maryland

Charlotte County, Florida

Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia

Chestnuthill, Pennsylvania

Chico, California

Chisago County, Minnesota

Churchill County, NV

Clallam County, Washington

Claremont, California

Clarkdale, Arizona

Clatsop County, Oregon

Clearwater, Florida

Clifton Park, New York

Conewago Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania

Coral Gables, Florida

Cottage Grove Town, Dane County, Wisconsin

Crested Butte, Colorado

Crystal River, Florida

Dallas, Texas

Dane County, Wisconsin

Dane Town, Dane County, Wisconsin

Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

Dekorra Town, Columbia County, Wisconsin

Delray Beach, Florida

Deschutes County, Oregon

Douglas County, Colorado

Douglass Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania

Dover, New Hampshire

Easthampton, Massachusetts

East Hampton, New York

East Nantmeal Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania

East Nottingham, Pennsylvania

East Vincent, Pennsylvania

Eden, New York

El Paso, Texas

El Segundo, California

Everett, Washington

Exeter, Rhode Island

Falmouth, Massachusetts

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Framingham, Massachusetts

Frederick County, Maryland

Frederick County, Virginia

Fremont County, Idaho

Fruita, Colorado

Gallatin County Montana

Gilpin County, Colorado

Gorham, Maine

Goshen, New York

Greenville County, South Carolina

Groton, Massachusetts

Gunnison County, Colorado

Hadley, Massachusetts

Harford County, Maryland

Hatfield, Massachusetts

Hebron, Connecticut

Hellam Township, York County, Pennsylvania

Hereford, Pennsylvania

Highlands County, Florida

Hillsborough County, Florida

Hillsborough Township, Somerset County, New Jersey

Hollywood, Florida

Honey Brook Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania

Hopewell Township, New Jersey

Hopewell Township, York County, Pennsylvania

Howard County, Maryland

Huntington, Suffolk County, New York

Indian River County, Florida

Iowa City, Iowa

Irvine, California

Islamorada, Florida

Island County, Washington

Islip, New York

Issaquah, Washington

Jericho, Vermont

Kennett, Pennsylvania

Kent County, Delaware

Ketchum, Idaho

Kitsap County, Washington

Kittitas County, Washington

Lacey, Washington

Lake County, Florida

La Quinta, California

Largo, Florida

Lee County, Florida

Lee, New Hampshire

Livermore, California

London Grove, Pennsylvania

Los Angeles, California

Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico

Lower Chanceford Township, York County, Pennsylvania

Lysander, New York

Madison, Georgia

Mammoth Lakes, California

Manheim Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Mapleton, Utah

Marathon, Florida

Marin County, California

Marion County, Florida

Miami, Florida

Milton, Georgia

Mequon, Wisconsin

Mesa County, Colorado

Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania

Milpitas, California

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Monroe County, Florida

Monterey County, California

Montezuma County, Colorado

Moraga, California

Morgan Hill, California

Mount Joy Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania

Mount Joy Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Mountlake Terrace, Washington

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Nashville, Tennessee

New Castle County, Delaware

New Gloucester (Town), Maine

New Jersey Highlands

New Orleans, Louisiana

Newport Beach, California

New Port Richey, Florida

New York City, New York

Normandy Park, Washington

Northbrook, Illinois

Northampton, Massachusetts

North Kingstown, Rhode Island

Oakland, California

Okeechobee County, Florida

Orange, California

Orange County, Florida

Osceola County, Florida

Oxnard, California

Pacifica, California

Palm Beach County, Florida

Palmer, Massachusetts

Palm Springs, California

Palo Alto, California

Park City, Utah

Pasadena, California

Pass Christian, Mississippi

Peach Bottom Township, York County, Pennsylvania

Penn Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Perinton, New York

Pierce County, Washington

Pike Road, Alabama

Pima County, Arizona

Pismo Beach, California

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsford Town, Monroe County, New York

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Pocopson, Pennsylvania

Polk County, Florida

Port Orchard, Washington

Port Richey, Florida

Providence, Rhode Island

Puget Sound Region, Washington

Queen Anne’s County, Maryland

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Raynham, Massachusetts

Red Hook (Town), Dutchess County, New York

Redmond, Washington

Rhinebeck, New York

Richmond, California

Ridgeland, South Carolina

Riverhead, New York

Robbinsville, New Jersey

Sammamish, Washington

San Antonio, Texas

San Benito County, California

San Bernardino County, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Marcos, Texas

San Mateo County, California

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Fe County, New Mexico

Sarasota County, Florida

Scarborough, Maine

Scarborough Town, Cumberland County, Maine

Scottsdale, Arizona

Shrewsbury Township, York County, Pennsylvania

Smithtown, New York

Snohomish, Washington

Snohomish County, Washington

South Burlington, Vermont

Southampton, New York

South Lake Tahoe, California

South Middleton Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania

Southold Town, Suffolk County, New York

South San Francisco, California

Springfield Town, Dane County, Wisconsin

Springfield Township, York County, Pennsylvania

Stafford County, Virginia

Sterns County, Minnesota

St. Lucie County, Florida

St. Mary’s County, Maryland

Stowe, Vermont

St. Petersburg, Florida

Suffolk County, New York

Sunderland, Massachusetts

Summit County, Colorado

Summit County, Utah

Summit Town, Waukesha County, Wisconsin

Summit, Wisconsin

Sunny Isles Beach, Florida

Sunnyvale, California

Sussex County, Delaware

Tacoma, Washington

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, CA-NV

Talbot County, Maryland

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Teton County, Wyoming

Thompson’s Station, Tennessee

Thurston County, WA

Townsend, Massachusetts

Traverse City/Garfield Township, Michigan

Troy, St. Croix County, Wisconsin

Upper Dublin, Pennsylvania

Vancouver, Washington

Wareham, Massachusetts

Warrington, Pennsylvania

Warwick Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Warwick, New York

Waseca County, Minnesota

Washington, DC

Washington Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania

Waukesha County, Wisconsin

Weber County, Utah

Westborough, Massachusetts

West Bradford Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania

West Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

West Hollywood, California

Westlake, Texas

West Lampeter, Pennsylvania

West Palm Beach, Florida

West Pikeland, Pennsylvania

West Valley City, Utah

West Vincent Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania

West Windsor, New Jersey

Westfield, Massachusetts

Whatcom County, Washington

Wicomico County, Maryland

Williston, Vermont

Winchester/Clark County, Kentucky

Windsor, Connecticut

Woodinville, Washington

Woolwich, New Jersey


Almeria, Andalusia, Spain

Auckland, New Zealand

Brabant, The Netherlands

Brisbane, Australia

Casalecchio di Reno, Italy

Cesena, Italy

Cremona, Italy

Gosford, New South Wales, Australia

Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

La Cadiere d’Azur, France

La Clusaz, France

La Spezia, Italy

Le Grand Bornand, France

Les Gets, France

Longeville-sur-Mer, France

Lourmarin, France

Melbourne, Australia

Monza, Italy

Mumbai (Bombay), India

Padua, Italy

Parma, Italy

Perth, Australia

Piacenza, Italy

Porto Alegre, Brazil

Ravenna, Italy

Reggio Emilia, Italy

Rome, Italy

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Schio, Italy

Sian Ka’an, Mexico

Sydney, Australia

Taninges, France

Tokyo, Japan

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Turin, Italy

Vancouver, British Columbia

Venice, Italy

What is TDR?

Almost all communities want to preserve sensitive environmental areas, historic landmarks, open space or other features important to their way of life or their character. Sometimes, it is possible to achieve these goals through regulations alone. But often, elected officials prefer not to significantly reduce development potential, and therefore property value, without offering compensation, regardless of whether or not it is legally required. In some communities, the voters are so committed to these preservation goals that they agree to tax themselves to raise the needed compensation. But in other communities, public support is not strong enough to raise the necessary dollars through taxation and other traditional funding sources.

Transfer of development rights, or TDR, offers an alternative to this dilemma. TDR can be thought of as a way of encouraging the reduction or elimination of development in areas that a community wants to save and the increase of development in areas that a community wants to grow. In a traditional TDR program, the areas that the community wants to save are designated as “sending areas” and the locations that the community wants to grown are designated as “receiving areas”.

Sending Areas – Sending areas can be agricultural land, open space, historic properties or any other properties that are important to the community. In a traditional TDR program, sending area properties are rezoned to a form of dual zoning that gives the property owners a choice. The owners can choose not to participate in the TDR program and instead use and develop their land as allowed under the baseline option. Alternatively, they can voluntarily elect to use the TDR option. Under the TDR option, the sending site owner enters into a deed restriction that spells out the amount of future development and the types of land use activities that can occur on the property.

When that deed-restriction is recorded, the sending site owner is able to sell a commodity created by the community’s TDR ordinance called a transferable development right or a “TDR”. In a traditional TDR program, the TDR ordinance specifies the number of TDRs that the sending site owner can sell once the deed restrictions have been recorded. Typically, the community does not directly establish the price per TDR. However, if a TDR ordinance allows sending site owners to sell enough TDRs, the proceeds from these TDR sales can approximate the development value of the sending site. By selling their TDRs, sending site owners can be fully compensated for the development potential of their property without having to endure the expense and uncertainty of actually trying to develop it. Also, when the sending sites have non-development income-producing potential, such as farming or forestry, the owners can continue to receive that income. Of course, that farming or forestry income is in addition to the proceeds from the sale of their TDRs.

Receiving Areas – In a traditional TDR program, receiving areas are places that the community has designated as appropriate for development. Often these areas are selected because they are close to existing development, jobs, shopping, schools, transportation, infrastructure and other urban services.

A traditional TDR ordinance creates a form of dual zoning for these receiving areas. Developers can elect not to use the TDR option provided under this dual zoning. Under the baseline option, they do not have to acquire TDRs but they also are limited to a lower, less-profitable level of development. Alternatively, under the TDR option, developers must buy and retire a specified number of TDRs in order to achieve a higher, more-profitable level of development. The price of TDRs is typically freely negotiated between willing buyers and sellers. But the TDR ordinance can influence the price through the number of TDRs that the sending site owners are allowed to sell. When TDRs remain affordable, developers are able to achieve higher profits through the extra development allowed under the TDR option despite the additional cost of the TDRs.

TDR programs are not always successful. If TDRs are not affordable, developers will not buy them because TDR costs will make the TDR option less profitable than the baseline option. Similarly, if the TDR ordinance does not allocate enough TDRs to sending areas, the property owners may decline to sell their TDRs. And if a TDR program fails to generate transfers, there may be calls to remove it from a community’s zoning code.

However, when TDR ordinances work, they provide a solution with multiple benefits. The developers achieve greater profits from the higher level of development. The sending site owners are able to liquidate the development potential of their properties while still using these properties for non-development and, in some cases, income-producing activities. And finally, the community itself is able to implement its preservation goals without relying exclusively on tax revenues and other traditional funding sources, which are often difficult to adopt.