Purchase of Development Rights

The Snohomish County Council approved Motion 06-001, authorizing the county to implement a Purchase of Development Rights program on Wednesday, February 22, 2006.

The PDR program preserves farmland by purchasing the development rights of a property from landowners. The value of a development right is the difference in land value between the current agricultural use and the highest and best use of the land. Under the PDR program, the county would purchase the development rights of a property from the landowner, and then place a conservation easement on the property to prohibit non-agricultural activities. The property would remain in private ownership and be available for agricultural use.

Benefiting the County

The county benefits from this program by securing the long-term presence of agricultural land in the Tualco Valley. Participating landowners benefit by maintaining the ability to farm the land while gaining some of the profits they would have earned by redeveloping the land for non-agricultural uses.

Goals of the Program

The goals of the PDR program in Snohomish County are to:

  • Permanently preserve rural farms in the Tualco Valley.
  • Provide an option for landowners to realize the financial benefits of their land without developing it.

Participation in the program is voluntary, requires an application, and is expected to be competitive due to limited public funds. Applications will be scored and ranked by criteria evaluating the agricultural value of a property and the risk of a property being converted to non-agricultural uses. This program is grant-funded. View the Tualco Valley Map of Eligibility Area.