Coverage & Development Rights

Marketable Rights

What is Land Coverage?

Land coverage is a structure or covering that prevents plant growth and water from soaking into the soil.  A structure includes most forms of development such as a house, asphalt, or concrete.

What are Marketable Rights?

Marketable rights are property rights that add value to a property.  The types of marketable rights on each property vary.  Examples of include:  Land Coverage, Restoration Credit, Residential Development Right, Residential Unit of Use, Tourist Accommodation Unit, Commercial Floor Area.

Development’s Impact On Lake Tahoe

Building houses and roads limit the amount of water that can soak into the soil.  The result is that water, soil, and nutrients flow off these surfaces into Lake Tahoe.  This combined flow is called storm water runoff.  Local regulations require that each property owner treat their storm water with a treatment system.

Marketable Rights Relevance to Lake Tahoe

To prevent storm water runoff, the amount of development is limited within the Lake Tahoe basin. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) regulates the structures allowed on each property.

What is the California Tahoe Conservancy’s Land Bank Program? 

The California Tahoe Conservancy’s Land Bank Program contains marketable rights that can be sold to eligible landowners at fair market value to facilitate remodels or new construction.  The program was created in 1988 to help landowners meet Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permitting requirements.

How does the Conservancy’s Land Bank Program help protect Lake Tahoe?

Since 1988, the Land Bank Program has acquired from willing sellers around 200 properties that are either vacant or in need of restoration.  If necessary, these properties are restored to a natural condition to reduce storm water runoff.  After restoration, the properties’ marketable rights are stored in the Conservancy’s inventory.  If regulations allow, these rights are sold for use on properties located in more suitable areas.

Example: wrecking yard before and after restoration.



To date, the Conservancy’s Land Bank Program has:

  • Completed more than 7,000 transactions to the following broad categories of need:
    • Excess Coverage Mitigation
    • Open Market Sales
    • Public Market Sales
    • Conservancy projects
    • Memorandums of Understandings
  • Transferred over 2,500,000 square feet of coverage rights; and
  • Transferred over 185 marketable rights to other parties.

For more information:

Contact the California Tahoe Conservancy regarding Marketable Rights questions: or (530) 542-5580.

View the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Code of Ordinances regarding building regulations and marketable right transfer requirements:

Marketable rights FAQs

Conservancy’s Land Bank Program’s Available Inventory, Price List & Forms