Transfer of Development Rights (TDR)

Project Overview

In September 2017, City Council directed staff and a consultant (Forterra) to restart work on developing a transfer of development rights (TDR) program, a project that was previously being developed in 2011/2012 as part of the Cultivating Puyallup project. At that time, there were a number of concerns raised by some members of the community that led City Council to terminate the project prior to its completion. City Council has now directed staff to reengage with the original consultant team to develop a framework for a TDR program that meets the community priorities for conservation and growth.

What is TDR?

TDR is a voluntary, market-based land use tool for helping implement a jurisdiction’s growth policies while conserving natural resource and open space lands. Through individual transactions, development rights are transferred from privately owned farmland, forest land, and natural areas (known as sending sites) to areas that can accommodate additional growth (known as receiving sites). Landowners in sending areas receive compensation for giving up their right to develop, while developers in receiving areas pay for the right to develop at greater densities or heights than would otherwise be allowed, under base zoning.

  1. Katie Baker, AICP

    Planning Manager

Project Scope

The project involves a series of four tasks to align a TDR program and new infrastructure revenue opportunities with the City's anticipated planning activities and growth. The goal is to give the city the material it needs to adopt a TDR program, make a decision on pursuing an infrastructure financing program, and integrate market-based incentives into plans under development.

Next Steps

Much of the work the consultants will be doing over the next few months will happen in the background. They will be working to a) identify and evaluate factors that have changed in Puyallup since 2012 that affect land use, growth, and real estate; b) identify specifically how and where TDR can work in the city; and c) provide the city with a TDR program framework. This work will take place between now and August 2018, after which the draft program framework will be presented to the public and the Planning Commission for review and comments.

Work Completed

February 5, 2019: Project staff and the consultant team updated the City Council on this project. Topics included policy direction related to program administration and receiving areas, and consideration of infrastructure financing opportunities. Next steps will include public outreach and work sessions with the Planning Commission. View the PowerPoint.

February 13, 2018
: The project staff and consultant team introduced this project at the City Council meeting. The purpose of this presentation was to provide Council with background on the work previously completed, provide an overview of the components that make up a TDR program, and receive policy direction and upfront input prior to beginning any substantive work on program development.

Stay Involved

Please contact project planner Katie Baker with any comments at or at 253-435-3604.

More information

Pierce County program
Department of Commerce