The act of buying the legal right to develop property in the future by another private party, nonprofit organization, or government.
Under a PDR program, a landowner voluntarily sells his or her rights to develop a parcel of land to a public agency or a charitable organization charged with the preservation of farmland. The landowner retains all other ownership rights attached to the land, and a conservation easement is placed on the land and recorded on the title. The buyer (often a local unit of government) essentially purchases the right to develop the land and retires that right permanently, thereby assuring that development will not occur on the property. In placing such an easement on their farmland, participating landowners often take the proceeds from sale of the development rights to invest in their farming operations or retire from the business, allowing another farmer to purchase the land at a lower price.
The acquisition by government or nonprofit entity of rights to develop a parcel of land. Development rights are held in the public interest. The landowner receives the difference in price between the fair market value and the protected, lesser use and retains all the rights of this lesser use. This is useful in protecting agricultural land, historic sites and sensitive environmental areas.