Permit Application Center
555 Liberty St. SE
Room 320
Salem, OR 97301


Mail Payments to:
PO Box 3405
Portland, OR 97208


General Questions
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Permit/License Processing
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Plans Intake
Monday - Friday
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Commercial building permits apply to buildings with spaces occupied by business. A building which includes spaces for people to live is a mixed-use building and is treated as a commercial buildings.

For large-scale ($10M) or complex commercial/industrial construction projects, a Project Coordinator will be assigned. This is a free service Salem provides to have a one-stop City contact that can assist throughout the entire project.

Types of Commercial Permits

The following are typical projects that require permits:

  • New construction/additions
  • Electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and fire systems changes
  • Multifamily construction
  • Site development
  • Change of use
  • Demolition

Step 1: Prepare

Trade Permits for electrical, plumbing, mechanical or fire work that does not require plan review can be applied for the online Permit Application Center Portal and do not require any preparation prior to applying.

Resolve site constraints

Are there site constraints or planning issues that must be addressed before Development Review (Site Plan Review)?

Check for the presence of wetlands, flood hazard, landslide hazard or soil contamination to verify that no state or federal permits are required for development. These permits may be required prior to Site Plan approval.

Other site considerations

  • Does the zoning allow the use?
  • Will an access or street improvement be required?
  • Is the site in an Overlay or Historic District?
  • Are there adequate utilities?
  • If the property was divided, is the Final Plat approved and recorded?

Schedule a pre-application conference

A pre-application conference can help you learn about the land use process and give you an opportunity to discuss your project in detail with City staff. It is not meant to identify or resolve every issue. Some land use actions require a pre-application conference, but you can request one for any land use action.

You can schedule a pre-application conference through the online Permit Application Center Portal.   

Site Plan Review process

(For projects not requiring Variances, Historic Review, Conditional Use Permits, Class 3 Design Review or other actions requiring a public hearing )

  • Submit a site plan review application.
  • When the application has been accepted as complete by the City (Projects requiring a public hearing will extend this timeline):
    • Day 1 - Public Notice Sent,  14-day Public Review Period
      • When the application is deemed complete, a “Notice of Proposal” is mailed to public agencies, to property owners within 250 feet, and to recognized neighborhood associations.
    • Days 15-30 - Analysis and Staff Report, 15 days for analysis and preparation of the staff report
      • Comments are considered and analysis of the proposal is made based on approval criteria.
    • Days 30-45 - Decision, 15-day appeal period
      • Decision is made and mailed within 30 days after the application is deemed complete. There is a 15-day period within which an appeal of the decision may be filed.
    • Days 45-60 - Decision is Finaled if not Appealed
      • If not appealed, or called up for City Council review, the decision is final.

Systems Development Charges

Systems Development Charges (SDCs) are one-time fees based on the proposed new use or increase in use of a property. They apply to both new construction and redevelopment projects which increase impact to city infrastructure. 

Depending on the project, SDCs may increase a project's budget substantially. It is important to determine the impact of SDC fees as early as possible in the process.