Skip to the content
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Home / Planning / Agricultural Reserve / Transferable Development Rights

Transferable Development Rights

What are Transferable Development Rights (TDR)?

The Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program helps preserve farmland and farming in the Agricultural Reserve. Farming cannot continue without a substantial contiguous area available for agricultural use. The zoning to implement the TDR program is the Rural Density Transfer Zone (RDT).

TDR is similar to the cluster concept in that development is shifted from the Agricultural Reserve to another location to achieve a public purpose – in this case the preservation of farmland. The basic difference from other ‘clustering’ developments is that TDR sending and receiving areas are not contiguous, and they are not necessarily under the same ownership. By moving residential uses away from farmland, TDR preserves a critical and irreplaceable natural resource while still allowing for a limited amount of housing in the Agricultural Reserve. The TDR process moves the dwelling units that would have been built under the Rural Zone designation to other, more appropriate, areas.

There are two basic steps to use TDR:

  1. Establishment of a density transfer ‘sending areas’ in which development rights are created and from which they can be sold; and
  2. Designation of density transfers ‘receiving areas’ where the land and public services are capable of absorbing additional density.

Staff Contacts

Josh Penn

Office of Agriculture Staff Contact

Mike Scheffel
Agricultural Land Preservation Program Administrator
18410 Muncaster Road
Derwood, Maryland  20855
Office of Agriculture