System Development Charges

Systems Development Charges (SDC)

Systems Development Charges (SDC) are a financing mechanism for funding of Parks, Transportation, Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater systems that are needed to serve new developments. SDCs are collected from developers at the time of building permit issuance based on the relative impacts of each project and are used to pay for construction of new public infrastructure.

SDC Methodology Overview

An SDC methodology determines the relative impacts of each development project to the infrastructure systems serving the project so that SDCs are collected equitably. The methodology is summarized by the equation below:

SDCs are collected from developers and then used to pay for infrastructure facilities City-wide. The methodology establishes fee amounts to be collected from each individual development project to ensure that adequate funds are available to provide the public infrastructure needed in developing areas.

Eligible Projects List (309 List)

Under Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 223.309, the City is required to prepare a list of projects that are to be funded with SDCs. The list of projects is commonly referred to as the “309 List.” Only projects on the 309 Lists can be funded with SDCs. However, the 309 Lists can be amended at any time by City Council to add or remove projects or make other modifications. As development patterns change, the 309 Lists are customarily modified to ensure that infrastructure needed to serve new developments is eligible for SDC expenditures. The current list of approved 309 List projects is available below.


SDC Methodology Report

The City's current SDC methodology was generated through a nearly two-year process involving a seven-member SDC Methodology Committee of interested stakeholders. The committee included two City councilors, a member of the Planning Commission, a member of the Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and three other citizen stakeholders. A team of City staff and consultants performed the analysis needed to complete the methodology.

Key features of the 2019 SDC Methodology

​Parks SDCs for residential developments are collected based on the number and type of dwelling units. Parks SDCs for non-residential developments are collected based on building square footage and zoning. The current Parks SDC methodology has two main differences than the prior methodology:

This methodology collects Parks SDCs from both residential and non-residential development, where the prior methodology collected SDCs from residential developments only. This approach accounts for park use of employees in non-residential areas, not just Salem residents.

This methodology authorizes new parks to be funded entirely with SDCs, where the prior methodology generally required that other funds be used over and above SDCs when developing park land. This approach will follow in more parks being developed because grants or other funding are not needed to augment SDC funds.

The current Transportation SDC methodology has two main differences than the prior methodology:

The basis for calculating SDCs has changed to ensure that developers are funding transportation projects at levels commensurate with current users. The methodology establishes SDC amounts based on the level of funding being expended for major transportation projects by current users, which is approximately double the rate of the prior SDCs. This approach provides a more equitable basis to ensure consistency among all sources of transportation revenues.

This methodology authorizes most new transportation projects to be funded entirely with SDCs, where the prior methodology generally required that other funds be used over and above SDCs when constructing street improvements. This approach will allow for greater flexibility in how transportation projects are funded.

This methodology collects an additional SDC for existing capacity in 8-inch pipes that was previously collected through a connection fee pursuant to Salem Revised Code (SRC) Chapter 21. This approach eliminates a disincentive to infill development that had occurred under SRC Chapter 21, by distributing costs to all development rather than a limited number of infill projects.

Two common types of area-based fees are used in conjunction with development projects: (1) temporary access fees are authorized pursuant to SRC 200.080; and (2) reimbursement district fees are authorized pursuant to SRC 200.350. These area-based fees are generally collected over and above SDCs. As a result, not all growth costs are attributed to SDCs in order to prevent duplication of funds from area-based fees.

In general, water/wastewater SDCs do not directly affect water/wastewater utility rates. However, a number of infrastructure projects are dual-funded by both utility rates and SDCs because the projects benefit both existing and future users. These dual-funded projects can provide a substantial cost savings for each fund in comparison to the cost of projects with only one fund source.

The Stormwater SDC methodology is based on the Stormwater Master Plan adopted in year 2000. City Council adopted a new Stormwater Master Plan in year 2020 after adoption of the SDC methodology. At an unspecified future date, City staff anticipates that the SDC methodology will be modified to include projects identified in the updated Stormwater Master Plan.

Fairview Development District

On June 13, 2005, the City Council adopted an order approving the establishment of the Fairview Development District encompassing approximately 275 acres of property between Pringle Road SE, Battle Creek Road SE, Reed Road SE, and Strong Road SE. Development projects within the Fairview Development District are required to pay Development District Fees (DDFs) in lieu of SDCs. The District process includes publication of a Project List to determine which improvements are eligible for funding by DDFs. The current Fairview Development District Eligible Projects List is available here.

Contact us

Glenn DavisChief Development EngineerPublic Works Department
555 Liberty ST SE RM 325
Salem, OR 97301