A multi-family development generally has five or more dwelling units on the same lot. The City has set multifamily design standards and other regulations to make it easier for you to develop multifamily housing in Salem.

Two, three, or four dwelling units on the same lot are considered middle housing, which is regulated differently than multifamily housing. Middle housing also includes cottage clusters, which is generally five to 12 small detached dwelling units on a lot with a common courtyard.

Step 1: Prepare

Trade Permits for electrical, plumbing, mechanical or fire work related to residential work are separate permits.

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.