Transferable Development Rights (TDR)


A Transferable Development Right (TDR) permits all or part of the density potential of one tract of land to be transferred to another noncontiguous parcel. The density potential unit (TDR) becomes a separate right of property ownership which can be sold separate from the land from which it was created. The TDR sold can then be used to increase the density potential of another parcel. The properties selling TDRs are the Agricultural Preservation Districts (APD) and are referred to as the sending area. The properties able to utilize TDRs to increase their density potential are the designated receiving areas. The purpose behind the TDRs is to move density out of areas that should be preserved to more suitable areas.

Once an APD is recorded, the landowner can apply to certify TDRs by application. Staff calculates TDRs based on:

  • 1 TDR per acre.
  • 5 TDRs deducted per residence on the property.
  • 5 TDRs added for each grandfathered lot authorized but unused.
  • TDR certification applications have to go through the APAB for approval and recommendation to the BOCC for approval. Once the BOCC approves, the TDR certification is recorded in Land Records.

Forest Conservation Transferable Development Rights (FC TDRs) Update:

After techniques for retaining existing forest on the site have been exhausted, mitigation may be required to address the minimum requirements for Forest Conservation. One option has been the purchase of Forested TDRs from an Agricultural Preservation District (APD) with existing forestland, to be retained as forestland in perpetuity via the recordation of Forest Retention Area (FRA) on a plat, and covenants applied to the APD. (See Zoning Ordinance § 8-3.04.J and 8-3.04.K.)

Recent changes in the Maryland Forest Conservation program have occurred as a result of the passage of the Maryland Tree Solutions Now Act of 2021. Regulations now prohibit the use of FC TDRs as a method of satisfying forest conservation requirements for development. FC TDRs will no longer be created, and all projects using previously allocated FC TDRs must receive final approval on or before June 30, 2024. After this date, any unused FC TDRs will be converted to standard TDRs.

Current owners of Forest Conservation Transferable Development Rights (FC TDRs) are encouraged to consider selling their FC TDRs while they are still able to be used. To help facilitate sales between TDR owners and the development community, the County maintains a voluntary TDRs for Sale List. To include your TDR and contact information on the list, click the link below to download an application.

Application for TDRs for Sale List

TDR Sales by Year

  1. 2023
  2. 2022
  3. 2021
  4. 2020


Qtr. Dates Number of TDRs Sold Avg. cost per TDR Number of FC TDRs Sold Avg. Cost per FC TDR
1 Jan. Feb. Mar. 0 N/A 0 N/A
2 Apr. May Jun. 0 N/A 0 N/A
3 Jul. Aug. Sept. - - - -
4 Oct. Nov. Dec. - - - -
TOTAL   0   0