Build on Your Property

If you want to build on your property or make improvements to your land, you will likely need approval from the City of Salem. This includes land use approvals from the Planning Division.

Step 1: Determine your approval types

The type of land use approval you need depends on what work you plan to do on your property.

Site plan review

Site plan review provides a unified, consistent, and efficient way to review development activity to ensure it meets all applicable standards of the Salem Revised Code. Most work that requires a building permit also requires site plan review. The following types of work are exemptions:

  • Constructing a single-family home or duplex on an individual lot, including associated accessory structures
  • Installing a sign
  • Conducting ordinary maintenance or repair of existing buildings, utilities, landscaping, and impervious surfaces
  • Installing or replacing operational equipment or fixtures
  • Altering a building façade
  • Doing interior construction or tenant improvements that involve no change of use

There are three types of site plan review:

  • Class 1 site plan review is for any development that requires a building permit, that does not involve a land use decision or limited land use decision, and that involves a change of use or change of occupancy where only construction or improvements to the interior of the building or structure are required.
  • Class 2 site plan review is for development applications which are not discretionary in nature, do not involve land use or limited land use decisions, and where only the clear and objective standards of the code apply.
  • Class 3 site plan review is for development applications that require discretionary decisions and provide an opportunity for public comment and appeal under state law.

Design review

Design review is required for certain types of development, or in specified areas of the City, where design review requirements have been established to achieve a desired community character, to promote greater compatibility between uses, and to promote established principles of urban design. You can check the zoning of your property to determine if design review is required.

Design review is required for multifamily development and the remodel and repair of historic buildings.

  • Class 1 design review applies to developments that are intended to be reviewed based on the prescriptive design review standards.
  • Class 2 design review applies to developments that are intended to be reviewed based on the more flexible design review guidelines, but the scope of the project is limited to building alterations that will be contained within the footprint of the existing building and that will utilize the same building materials and same window and facade designs.
  • Class 3 design review applies to developments that are intended to be reviewed based on the more flexible design review guidelines.

Step 2: Review the approval type requirements

Download the application packet for your approval type from the list below to get the necessary application requirements.

Site Plan Review-Class 1 Application Packet
Site Plan Review-Class 2 Application Packet
Site Plan Review-Class 3 Application Packet
Design Plan Review-Class 1 Application Packet
Design Plan Review-Class 2 Application Packet
Design Plan Review-Class 3 Application Packet

Step 3: Submit your land use application

After reviewing your application requirements, you are ready to submit your land use application.

Contact us

Permit Application Center Planning Desk
Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 320
Salem OR 97301
Mailing address:
555 Liberty ST SE RM 305
Salem OR 97301
Phone: 
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