Everett considering land swap program
EVERETT - The city is considering joining Snohomish County’s transfer of development rights program.
A transfer of development rights program uses the free market to let a farmland or forestland owner sell the development rights of his or her land that are traded in the market for incentive credits toward developing in the city. The system encourages saving farmland and forested land from being developed on by encouraging higher density developments in urban areas. In an April analysis report, researchers identified the Evergreen Way corridor and the area around Everett Station as Everett’s best areas to use the transfer of development rights credits. The report writers conclude, though, that Everett should not join the county’s TDR program based on how it operates right now.
A developer would have to want to build multifamily housing for the credit system to be at all feasible, the report found, and even then a developer would need to utilize multifamily tax exemptions for such a plan to pencil out.
There would not be able incentive for a developer to use the credits in the downtown area, because there are no density limits there, the report says.
So far, developers have not seized upon urban credits available in Snohomish County.
In Snohomish County, the county has spent at least $3.1 million buying development rights since 2005, but hasn’t had any buyers in the urban market, the April report found.
King County has had more success in implementing selling credits for urban sites.
The City Council is expected to vote on whether the city should continue exploring joining the county’s program at this week’s council meeting.
Funding for the research was paid for with grant money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.