TDR stands for Transferable Development Rights (sometimes referred to as Transfer of Development Rights). A TDR is essentially a zoning technique that is designed to allow for urban growth while protecting land and areas with significant cultural, historical, environmental or agricultural importance.
The Purpose of TDRs
Essentially, it allows for real estate development in other areas while conserving the protected land for non-commercial use. The protected property is known as the “sending area” while the property it is allowed to be transferred to is called the “receiving area.” When implemented properly, TDR plans can help an urban area expand without affecting important historical places and open spaces.
Pitkin County and Aspen TDR Programs
adopted a TDR program in 1994 in order to preserve rural, mountainous land for non-commercial recreational use. The City of Aspen also passed additional TDR zoning code amendments in 2003 to protect historic properties in the city.
So far, these programs have been good for our area as developers seek out new land for housing and commercial use without impacting certain natural resources that are so important to the people of the Roaring Fork Valley. As a , I enjoy seeing our market expand. As a longtime Aspen resident, I would never want to see our incredible outdoor lifestyle affected in any way. Having TDR regulations and options in place is a happy medium.
How it Works
Within the Aspen TDR program, sending areas can be designated Historic Landmarks in zones where single-family or duplex residential development is permitted. This puts into place floor area restrictions at the original site. One TDR Certificate by Ordinance can be approved by the Aspen City Council for every 250 square feet of floor space. Aspen TDRs can then be transferred to Pitkin County receiving areas where the corresponding floor area is granted for new development.
Aspen TDR Market Activity
It’s all a little complicated, so you don’t want to get into Aspen TDRs without the right real estate guide at your side. Over the years, I have been involved in many different TDR transactions and zoning applications. Currently, I represent three active Aspen TDR property listings and have closed several transactions in recent months. There has been a lot of activity lately as our market keeps recovering quickly from the COVID-19 slowdown.
If you would like more information about the Aspen TDR properties that I represent and their specific Transferable Development Rights, please contact me. You can call me any time at (970) 366-0891 or email me at
Aspen Real Estate
DRE # FA.100019229