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Transfer of Development Rights Project
Planning & Development Services releases TDR report developed with Board-appointed TDR Advisory Committee

Skagit County Planning & Development Services has just released a report, Skagit County Transfer of Development Rights: Project Findings and Program Recommendations , which reflects nearly two years of work with a Board-appointed TDR Advisory Committee.

Report Highlights:

The report provides a comprehensive overview of TDR programs and methods and their potential use in Skagit County. It reflects the diverse views and opinions of TDR Advisory Committee members and others who have participated in discussions during the course of the project. It also draws on research and analysis conducted by Planning & Development Services staff with the help of two project consultants, Forterra and Heartland.

TDR is a market-based tool that can help a jurisdiction implement its growth and conservation goals. It uses the “economic engine” of new growth to conserve from development lands that provide benefits to the community, such as working farms and forest lands. TDR can provide additional options to natural resource landowners interested in permanently conserving their land, while offering incentives to developers to concentrate development in areas best suited for growth.

The report contains a dozen recommendations regarding the design of a potential Skagit County TDR program, as well as majority and minority recommendations on whether the County should take action to implement a program at this time.

A majority of Advisory Committee members recommended that the County should move forward and consider specific comprehensive plan policies and development regulations to implement TDR. They indicated that putting a TDR program in place now would allow the County to capture funds for land conservation when the development market improves and would encourage cities to consider becoming TDR receiving areas.

A minority of Committee members recommended that the County not take action to implement TDR at this time, due to concerns about lack of demand for development and too few TDR receiving areas, and the belief that current County policies and programs adequately conserve natural resource lands.

The report seeks to provide the Board of County Commissioners with information to help them decide whether to move forward with consideration of specific TDR policies and code. If so, the next steps in that process would include:

  • Drafting of proposed comprehensive plan policies and development regulations by Planning & Development Services;
  • Consulting on the draft with the Planning Commission and other County advisory committees;
  • Reviewing and analyzing potential environmental and land use impacts of the proposal under SEPA;
  • Releasing the proposal for public review and comment;
  • Conducting a public hearing and deliberations by the Skagit County Planning Commission; and
  • Taking final action on the proposal by the Board of County Commissioners.

Alternatively, the Board may decide it does not want to move forward with consideration of a TDR legislative proposal at this time.