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Converting property from a natural landscape to a residential community is a multi-step process that involves many City departments. Public Works Development Services (PWDS) staff is the primary City representative to the developer regarding municipal water, sewer, stormwater, and transportation infrastructure. The development process includes speculation, land use, plan review, permitting, inspection, and final completion. Each step of the process is described below.


PWDS dedicates considerable staff resources to provide public information for developer representatives as part of the speculation process. Before a developer can make financial decisions about a project, information regarding infrastructure needs and requirements is essential. Availability of water facilities, sewer mains, stormwater facilities, and safe transportation routes will affect the construction costs associated with a subdivision development. A wide variety of other factors will influence internal street configurations, lot layouts, and other infrastructure considerations within the development.

Many options are available for public information from City staff.

Land Use

The City's land use program is administered by the Community Development Department's Planning Division. PWDS staff provides extensive findings and recommended conditions to the Planning Administrator related to Public Works infrastructure. When a land use application is received, a PWDS project manager is assigned to manage the project for Public Works through the multiple City processes until construction is completed.

At the land use stage, infrastructure requirements are listed as conditions of development, and infrastructure budgets become more firmly established for the developer. Because infrastructure needs can be very complex, developer representatives are strongly encouraged to coordinate with the PWDS project manager throughout the land use processes. Some references that might help a developer include:

  • Water System Master Plan
  • Wastewater Management Master Plan
  • Transportation System Plan
  • Stormwater Master Plan
  • Salem Revised Code
  • Public Works Design Standards
Plan Review

Once land use processes are completed the developer's engineer prepares infrastructure construction plans, as needed, to serve the development. PWDS staff reviews the water, sewer, stormwater, transportation, and franchise utility infrastructure plans along with the proposed final plat for conformance with City codes, standards, and specifications. For more information about application requirements, consult the Public Works Design Standards and Salem Revised Code Chapter 77. Your PWDS project manager is available to help you complete the construction plan process.

The construction plan application materials shall be submitted at the Public Works Counter in Room 320 of City Hall, or by mail to the Public Works Department, 555 Liberty Street SE, Room 325, Salem OR 97301.

Permit Issuance

The Public Works Department has a simplified fee structure for subdivision construction permits. With few exceptions all fees are collected at the time of subdivision construction permit issuance based on the amount of developed area. Within a few days after plan submittal, your PWDS project manager will inform you of all conditions of permit issuance. Typical requirements include:

  • All required permit fees shall be paid.
  • A performance security in a form acceptable to the Public Works Department shall be provided.
  • A completed Improvement Agreement shall be completed and signed by all parties.
  • Evidence of contractor's insurance and worker's compensation coverage shall be provided.
  • A formal, detailed construction schedule shall be provided.

Once a permit is issued for public construction, the Public Works Department assigns an inspector to perform site visits, ensure compliance with the approved plans, assist the contractor in resolving field conflicts and construction issues, and track the construction of the project. To request an inspection you need to contact your assigned inspector.

Final Completion

Final approval generally comes in three stages: (1) final plat approval, (2) substantial completion and release of building permits, and (3) final acceptance and start of warranty. Final plat approval is administered by the Urban Planning Administrator in the Planning Division.

Once the public construction has been completed, two copies of the as-constructed plans shall be submitted to the Public Works Department for review and acceptance. Based on these as-constructed plans and the inspection reports, Public Works will develop a punch list of items for completion. When the as-constructed plans are accepted and the critical punch list items are completed, Public Works will recommend substantial completion and release of building permits. Building permits are submitted to the Building and Safety Division.

Once all punch list items are completed, then final acceptance is granted and the project is complete.

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