Transfer of Development Rights

Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) is a municipal planning and preservation tool used to protect agricultural, historic or environmental resources while accommodating the needs of development.

TDR is a realty transfer mechanism permitting owners of preservation area land to separate the development rights of their property from the property itself and sell them for use elsewhere. Developers who purchase these “development credits” may then develop areas deemed appropriate for growth at densities higher than otherwise permitted. Once the development rights of a property are sold the land will permanently restricted from further development. 

TDR is an equity protection mechanism that, unlike traditional zoning, enables preservation area landowners to be compensated for reductions in development potential.  When well-designed, TDR can provide benefits to landowners, developers and municipalities


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Cluster Development Bill Signed Into Law -- Governor Christie in August 2013 signed into law P.L. 2013, C. 106, which amends the Municipal Land Use Law to provide municipalities with enhanced provisions for the use of contiguous and non-contiguous clustering and lot-size averaging for farmland, open space and historic preservation. (See also New Jersey Future summary of key provisions.) The SADC in September 2016 adopted a model agricultural deed restriction template for municipalities seeking to preserve farmland through contiguous and noncontiguous clustering. 

New Jersey TDR Task Force
New Jersey Future has convened a strategic group of stakeholders – local and county officials, municipal planners and engineers, environmentalists, developers, smart growth advocates and representatives of the farming community – to work to develop statutory, regulatory, programmatic and policy recommendations to encourage the use of TDR at both the municipal level and regionally. Recommendations are expected by December 2010.

Salem County TDR Task Force 
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has convened a group of local, regional and state stakeholders to examine the feasibility of establishing a regional TDR program in Salem County.

More Information

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission 

New Jersey Future

State of Massachusetts Smart Growth Toolkit

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