The Highlands Development Credit (HDC) Purchase Program is part of the Highlands Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program, through which eligible property owners may apply for the certification and sale of HDCs allocated to their property to the HDC Bank. In exchange, these properties are preserved via a conservation easement held by the Highlands Council. The property owners retain private ownership of the land and may continue any existing legal use of the property. The program seeks to address preservation and landowner equity goals of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act and Highlands Regional Master Plan.

HDCs may be allocated at any time, free of charge. Interested property owners should submit an HDC Allocation Application (see below) to the Highlands Council. The HDC Purchase Program operates only when funding is available. Landowners must apply for funding during an open application round to be considered for funding. Participation in the HDC Purchase Program is voluntary.

Please note that this program is administered under the provisions of N.J.A.C. 7:70, the Highlands Open Space Partnership Funding Program and Highlands Development Credit Purchase Program.

If you have any questions regarding the applications below or the Highlands Development Credit Allocation or Purchase Program, please contact James Humphries, Director of Planning and Science, (908) 879-6737 or


Application Materials
  • HDC Allocation Application (pdf)
    An applicant may submit an application for an HDC Allocation at any time. There is no cost to submit an application for an HDC Allocation, and there is no obligation to proceed with the purchase program once an Allocation is received. An “HDC Allocations” layer is available on the Highlands Council Interactive Map, within the “Administrative” group. If a parcel is ineligible for an HDC allocation not data will appear on this layer.

  • HDC Purchase Program Details and Credit Purchase Application (pdf)
    Applications for purchase are not currently being accepted.
    Property owners interested in the HDC Purchase Program should complete and submit this application form. Where an HDC Allocation exists for the property, no additional form is required. Where no HDC Allocation exists, submission of an HDC Allocation Application must be submitted in addition to this application.

It is recommended that property owners contact James Humphries, Director of Planning and Science, (908) 879-6737 or prior to submission of any application.