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Partners and Resources - Development Community

The Purchase of Development Rights authorizes Thurston County and qualified conservation organizations to purchase development rights (essentially residential density) with the purpose of preserving farmland. The program compensates land owners for agreeing to conserve their land.  Generally, the property owner would retain ownership of the land and continue to reside on and farm the property.

The Transfer of Development Rights Program provides an opportunity for working-land owners to sell their development rights without having to sell their entire property for development. Under this approach, the rural character and agricultural economy of Thurston County is preserved, and working-land owners have the opportunity to realize some of the true market value of their land without having to sell the land altogether for urban development.

When you purchase property, you get more than just the land – you get rights over how the land is used, including mineral rights, development rights and water rights. Those rights can be sold or transferred without affecting the land itself. Under a TDR program, the owner of working lands can sell the development rights from the land to somebody in an urban area. The rights are sold in the form of credits, and the buyer can use those credits to develop land at a different density than local zoning would normally allow. TDR programs help preserve working lands, because the landowners can benefit from the true market value of their development rights, without having to sell the land altogether to a developer. Meanwhile, the buyer of those rights has greater flexibility in developing land within certain zoning areas. It’s a way to shift development away from rural areas and into urban areas.

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Interested Parties: If you would like to be added to our Web Mail list, please click here. Staff contact: Andrew Deffobis, Associate Planner. Phone: (360) 754-3355, ext. 5467. E-mail: deffoba@co.thurston.wa.us.

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