Drawing a site plan

Guide
A sample of a site plan
For residential (one and two-family homes) projects. A complete and accurate site plan is required for most building permit applications. We’ll explain each required item and where to find the information. This is the companion guide to the Sample Site Plan.
On this page

Get the Sample Site Plan

The Sample Site Plan shows a development that is proposed on a lot that is flat and not located in areas such as floodplains, environmental, or river-related overlay zones.  

Please be aware that since every project is unique there may be some situations where you will be asked to provide additional information. 


What to consider when planning your project

Your site plan should show: 

  • What exists on the site 

  • All proposed development: What you plan to build including new structures, patios, driveways, and walkways 

  • Public right-of-way information 

What is a public right-of-way?

A public right-of-way includes the street and elements between the street and property line such as the curb, planting strip, sidewalk, and a frontage or buffer zone between the sidewalk and your private property. The frontage or buffer area is the section between the sidewalk and your private property that is dedicated to public use. See Diagram 1.

Image of a sidewalk view showing a private property front lot with grass and walkway that is marked "Private property." The public right-of-way includes the frontage zone, sidewalk, planting strip, curb, and street. This is an image of a residential street with cars parked and trash, recycling, and compost bins lined up at the curb.
Diagram 1. A public right of way in relation to a private lot on a local street. The public right-of-way includes the frontage zone, sidewalk, planting strip, and curb.

Most of the facilities in the right-of-way are owned by the City of Portland and franchised utility providers (ex. internet utility providers, and electric and gas companies). 

You, the property owner, are responsible for maintaining the right-of-way sidewalk corridor and the roadway adjacent to your lot if it has not been accepted as a City or State-maintained street.

For some projects, you might have to dedicate (provide) some of your property for public right-of-way, and you might have to build or rebuild the street/sidewalk section in front of your property. If you are required to do one or both of these, usually you can't get your permit until you've dedicated the property or agreed to do the work to improve the street.

All such dedication and improvement requirements must also be shown on the site plan.


Getting started: Site plan guidelines

Sheet size 

Your site plan must be drawn on 11 inch x 17 inch paper or larger. Ideally, the sheet size should match the sheet size of the rest of your permit drawings.

Scale 

Showing a portion of the sample site plan. The north arrow and scale of 1" = 10'.
Figure 1. The north arrow and scale shown on the Sample Site Plan. On your site plan, include the scale you are using and the north arrow.

Drawing to scale lets you create an accurate plan in proportion to the real lot. 

Draw your site plan to a scale of 1 inch = 10 feet or larger. See Figure 1. 

North arrow 

Site plans must have an arrow that points to north. See Figure 1. 

Color and quality 

Plans must be in black and white, clearly legible, and reproducible.

Your site plan, along with your other drawings, will be used for permit review, inspections, and archived for future reference. 


Sample Site Plan: Items A to U 

A. Lot dimensions and finished grade elevations at property corners and building corners

A simplified portion of the Sample Site Plan showing items A to E. A top down view of a housing plan with measurements of the private lot.
Figure 2. A simplified portion of the Sample Site Plan showing items A to E.
  1. Lot dimensions: Draw the lot dimensions to scale.

    On the Sample Site Plan, the lot borders are defined by the dash-dot-dot lines and the dimensions are labeled. See Figure 2.
  2. Finished grade elevations: Mark the finished grade elevations at property corners and building corners.

    The lot on the Sample Site Plan is flat. This is shown by labeling 100.0' at all property corners and building corners. See Figure 2. 

Find the lot dimensions on PortlandMaps: 

  1. Go to PortlandMaps.com.
  2. Enter your address in the top right of the screen. You can also zoom in and click on a property. 
  3. Click on the “Assessor” section and then the “Assessor Detail” button. This will pull up a tax map of the property you selected. It will list the dimensions of the property you selected.  

The lines and numbers on this map can be confusing. If you are unsure of the dimensions of the property after looking at this map, call the General Inquiries line at 503-823-7300 and ask to speak with zoning staff.

Finished grade elevations 

“Finished grade” means what the ground level is after development is complete. If you are adding or removing soil from the lot during the construction process, it should be shown on the building permit plans.  

On the property being developed, information on the level of the ground is needed in a relative sense. That means if one side of the lot is two feet higher than the other side of the lot, the site plan needs to show that change and how it happens on the lot – is there a gradual slope from one side to the other? Or is there a wall on the property and the grade changes by two feet at that location?

Flat lots 

If your lot is completely flat, mark all the corners of the property and the building with 100.0’. When all corners have the same value this shows that there is no change in elevation from one area on the lot to another.  

The ground elevation measured from sea level is not necessary for most building permits.

Sloped lots 

If there is a change in finished grade from one area to another on the lot, this change can be indicated by adding or subtracting from the 100.0' in these locations.

For example, a downward slope change of 2 feet at a corner would be 98.0' (100.0' - 2'.0 = 98.0'). An upward slope change of 2.5' at the corner would be 102.5' (100.0' + 2.5' = 102.5')

If the elevation changes by two feet or more, the location of where this change occurs must be indicated with a contour line and elevation following the elevation change.   

The greater the change in elevation across the property, the more the number of contour lines required. 

A contour line for each 2-foot change in elevation is common for gentle changes.

Find the elevation contours of your lot on PortlandMaps: Topography and Contours map. Elevation lines are shown with two-foot increments. Darker lines are labeled for each ten-foot increment.

B. Distance from building to property line

The distance from buildings to property lines is called the "building setback distance".  

Setbacks are measured at the shortest distance between the building and the property line. This distance must be shown on the site plan. See Figure 2 under item A in the section above.

Setback standards 

Minimum building setbacks are required by the zoning code and in some cases the building code (for fire separation). You generally cannot build within these setbacks.

Required zoning code setbacks depend on the zoning of the property being developed.  

Find the property’s setbacks on PortlandMaps
  1. Go to PortlandMaps.com.
  2. Enter your address in the top right of the screen. You can also zoom in and click on a property. 
  3. Under the “Property” section, in the “Zoning” row, click the link to the base zone for the zoning overview summary.
  4. Click on the link to the zoning code chapter for the base zone. The link is labeled “Chapter 33.1XX” (the last two numbers depend on the zone).  
  5. In the base zone chapter, search for a table labeled “Summary of Development Standards”. This table lists required setbacks. For more information on how setbacks apply and exceptions that are allowed, read the section referenced in the table. 

If you have questions about setback requirements, schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a City Planner.

C. Label location of front door and walkway to right-of-way

The site plan must show the location of the front door and how people get from the street to the front door.

The front door and proposed walkway are labeled on the Sample Site Plan. See Figure 2 under item A.

The assigned address must be on the street where the main entrance faces so that fire and rescue can find the property in an emergency. 

When a proposal is for a new unit on a lot, an address will be assigned with the building permit for the unit.   

If you have questions about property addressing, please email addressing@portlandoregon.gov or schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a Permit Technician.

D. Distance from driveway to property line

The Sample Site Plan shows the distance from the driveway to the property line is 6'. See Figure 2 under item A.

Corner lots 

If a driveway is proposed on a corner lot, driveway separation requirements must provide a minimum separation of 25 feet from the edge of the driveway to the corner property line.  An exception is allowed for narrower corner lots that are less than 40 feet wide. 

Attached housing 

If your proposal is for attached housing, the design must provide a shared driveway along the common property line with a single curb cut. Specifications on this requirement: TRN 10.40 Driveways – Operations and Locations.  

If the driveway does not meet this requirement, PBOT will require the plans to be revised or approval of a Driveway Design Exception by the PBOT Traffic Engineer. 

Driveways that lead to busier streets  

For driveways that lead to busier streets, City code may require a vehicle to enter and leave a lot in a forward motion. A turn-around or "hammerhead driveway" may be required.

These busier streets are classified as “collectors” by the Transportation System Plan.  To see if your street is a “collector”, find the property on the PBOT TSP Classification Map.  

For additional information and to learn if your driveway meets the requirements, please schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a Transportation Expert.

E. Distance from garage entry to street property line

The distance between the garage entry to the street property line is measured down the center of the driveway along the vehicle travel area.

The Sample Site Plan shows the garage entry to the street property line measures 20'. See Figure 2 under item A.

Garage entrances have special setbacks to ensure that there is space for a vehicle to be located between the garage entry and the sidewalk without overhanging the sidewalk. 

The minimum garage entry setback is generally 18 feet, although it can be more than that if the minimum building setback is more than that.

For minimum building setback information, see the section on setback standards under item B. 

If you have questions about the garage entrance setback requirement, schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a City Planner

F. Stormwater facility type and size and distance to property line and building

A simplified portion of the Sample Site Plan showing item F. A top down view of a housing plan with type and measurements of the stormwater facilities.
Figure 3. A simplified portion of the Sample Site Plan showing item F. The type and measurements of the stormwater facilities.

The type and dimension of the stormwater management facility must be shown on your site plan, along with distances to the proposed building and adjacent property lines. See Figure 3.

Your site plan must show how you are managing stormwater on your property. On-site measures are taken to ensure stormwater is retained on-site to avoid runoff onto adjacent properties or the public right-of-way. For specific requirements visit the Stormwater Management Manual. 

When stormwater management is proposed in underground facilities such as dry wells, stormwater planters, and soakage trenches, these facilities must be located away from adjacent property lines and, at times, the proposed buildings. 

If you have questions about the type of stormwater management that is most appropriate for your property given the grade of the property and type of soil, please request a free pre-permit meeting with the Bureau of Environmental Services by emailing besdevelopmentreview@portlandoregon.gov.

G. Proposed location of new on-site tree with species and size

Portland’s tree code requires tree preservation or planting new trees when new development is proposed. A minimum tree density must be met either by preserving or planting trees.  

When new trees are proposed to be planted to meet this requirement, the location of the tree and tree species must be indicated on the site plan.  

The tree must also be proposed in a location that fits the minimum planting size based on the size of the tree. Label new trees as "proposed". 

Read more information about On-Site Tree Density Requirements

If you have questions about tree code requirements on private property, schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a City Planner

H. Existing on-site trees 12 inches or larger to be retained, including species and size

For lots 5,000 square feet in area or larger, the tree code requires the preservation of one-third of all trees 12 inches in diameter or larger.  

In addition, all trees 20 inches or larger must be preserved or an inch-for-inch fee instead of preservation applies.  

If a tree 36 inches or larger is proposed for removal, a public notice is required and an inch-for-inch fee instead of preservation applies. Label existing trees as "existing". 

Read more about On-Site Tree Preservation

When there are no trees 12 inches or larger located on the site, add a note to the site plan: “NO TREES 12 INCHES OR LARGER ON SITE.” 

If you have questions about tree code requirements on private property, schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a City Planner

I. Tree protection fencing and root protection zone

When trees are being preserved, a root protection zone area must be fenced during construction and any ground-disturbing activity on the site.  

The standard root protection zone is one-foot radius from the trunk per inch diameter (distance across trunk measured 4½ feet above the ground).  

This area must be shown on the site plan with the dimension of the radius of the zone.  

Fence materials and location must also be specified. Standard root protection zone fencing is six-foot high metal chainlink fence secured with 8-foot metal posts in the ground.  

Alternative tree protection measures may be proposed with an arborist report developed by a certified arborist. 

Read more about Protecting Trees During Construction

If you have questions about tree code requirements on private property, schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a City Planner.

J. Existing on-site tree to be removed, including species and size

When on-site trees are proposed to be removed with development, the location, species, and size of the trees must be indicated on the site plan.  

Show that the tree will be removed by putting an “X” through the tree symbol. Fees apply for trees over 20 inches in diameter. 

If you have questions about tree code requirements on private property, schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a City Planner.

K. Dimension of dedication of private property for public right-of-way improvements (if required)

Dedication is required when the existing right-of-way does not provide sufficient width for standard improvements like a curb, planting strip, sidewalk, and frontage (buffer) zone.  

Transportation code requires a segment of the private property to be dedicated to the public for use as public right-of-way.  

The property owner is responsible for making improvements and meeting dedication requirements if needed.

Find your required sidewalk corridor width and configuration:

  1. Find your street’s classification: Transportation System Plan (Street Classifications map)  
  2. Based on your street’s classification, go to Table B-3: Required sidewalk corridor widths by Street Design Classification on page 14 in the Pedestrian Design Guide.

For more information on code and policy requirements:  

 For additional information and to learn if a dedication is required for your property, please schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a Transportation Expert.

L. Right-of-way configuration with dimensions of curb, furnishing zone, sidewalk, and frontage zone

The site plan must show existing locations and dimensions for elements located along your front property line.  

These elements are typically located in the public right-of-way and include a frontage zone (buffer area) between your front property line and the sidewalk, the planting area between the sidewalk and the street, and the curb to the street.

If you are unsure of the dimensions of these elements, please schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a Transportation Expert.

M. Driveway width

The width of the curb cut in the right-of-way (the area where vehicle access for the lot meets the street) must be the same as the driveway proposed on the lot.  

The driveway proposed on the lot must also lead to a legal parking space.  

The width of a driveway allowed on private property is limited by the zoning code and, in some cases, by the regulations for the right-of-way. 

Read more about zoning information on Driveways, parking, and garages for homes

If you have questions about driveway width requirements, schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a City Planner

N. Street name

Providing the name of the streets fronting the lot proposed for development will help reviewers locate the property and identify the water and sewer services available.

O. Location of utility poles, streetlights, fire hydrants, signs, meters, and other objects located in right-of-way

Street trees and utility connections, like water and sewer lines, must meet the required minimum separations from other elements in the frontage area along the street. The minimum separation is usually 5 feet between the different utility lines. The minimum separation for new street trees and new utility lines should be 5 feet.

The location of these elements must be shown on the site plan and include utility poles, guy wires, streetlights, fire hydrants, signs, meter and valve covers, above-ground utility vaults, fences, walls, and similar objects.

To locate existing underground utilities, see the section Utility Locate Number.

P. Existing and proposed locations of utility connections from right-of-way to building

Your site plan must show connections between the water and sewer main lines in the street and the proposed building.  

Existing connections

  • Where existing connections will be used for new development, label the locations and size of the connections with “(E)” for existing.
     
  • Where existing connections will not be used for new development, label the connections “(E) to be removed”.

New water connections

  • Show the location of these connections and the water meter location at the backside of the curb, and label “(N)” for new. 
  • The materials used and the size of new connections between the main in the street and the proposed building are determined by the Water Bureau. For new water services, include this label: “(N) (size and type of service) installed by the Portland Water Bureau.”
  • All new water connections have to meet the separation requirements listed in Appendices C and D of the Water Bureau's Engineering and Technical Standards Admin Rule (section below).
    • If the utilities going to the opposite side of the street are running alongside your new water service anywhere in the street, then your new water service needs to meet the separation requirements from those utilities.
       
    • If the neighbor's street trees or utilities are close to your property line, you need to meet the same separation requirements between your new water service and your neighbor's street trees or utilities.

To locate existing underground utilities, see the section Utility Locate Number.

Water Bureau's Engineering and Technical Standards Admin Rule

Find the complete Admin Rule.

  • Appendix C. Compliance with current standards: 
  • Appendix D. Portland Water Bureau standard separations: 
  • Appendix E. Connection separations for new services: 

If you have questions about the water connection, please schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a Water Expert

New sewer connections

Indicate size, material, and location of the new sewer location and label “(N)” for new. 

If you have questions about sewer connections, please request a free pre-permit meeting with the Bureau of Environmental Services by emailing besdevelopmentreview@portlandoregon.gov.

Q. Location and size of utility mains in right-of-way, including location of connections to property on both sides of the street

Indicate the size, material, and location of utility mains in the right-of-way. Include location of connections to properties on both sides of the street. Specify combination, sanitary and/or storm sewer mains and method of connection (e.g. “connect to existing public lateral”, “contractor tap to main line”). Label all utility mains and show (N) new or (E) existing for all mains.

Water Mains

To find information on the location and size of existing water mains and water connections to private property, you must request to locate existing underground utilities. When this request is made, the location of the water services will be painted on the site, and you can transfer this information to your site plan drawing. Visit the Oregon811 website, or call 811 or 877-668-4001. 

For preliminary information, you can also search for the property address on PortlandMaps: 

  1. Go to PortlandMaps.com.
  2. Enter your address in the top right of the screen. You can also zoom in and click on a property.
  3. Under the “Utilities” section, click the “Water Assets” button. This will pull up a map with the locations of water mains and connections to properties. 

If you have questions about the water main size and location or if PortlandMaps doesn't show a water main in front of your property, please schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a Water Expert

Sewer Mains

To find the location of sewer mains in the right-of-way and where other properties connect, search for the property address on PortlandMaps: 

  1. Follow the directions above to go to PortlandMaps.
     
  2. Under the “Utilities” section, click the “Sewer Assets” button. This will pull up a map with the locations of sewer mains and connections to properties. The sewer mains are labeled with the sizes of the pipes.
     
  3. If you click on the sewer main in front of the property, it will pull up more detailed information about the main on the right side of the page, including the pipe size and type of pipe. 

If you have questions about the sewer main size, type (sanitary or combined sanitary/storm), and location, please request a free pre-permit meeting with the Bureau of Environmental Services by emailing besdevelopmentreview@portlandoregon.gov.

R. Proposed new street tree, including species and size

Street trees are trees planted between the sidewalk and the street in the public right-of-way and are required along most street frontages. 

The location, species, and size of proposed street trees must be indicated. New street trees must have a minimum diameter of 1.5 inches measured 12 inches above the base of the tree.

Label new street trees as "proposed".  

The distance between new street trees and other elements in the planting strip must be labeled. 

Please see the Street Tree Planting Standards and Approved Street Tree Planting Lists for more information on planting requirements 

If you have questions about the street tree requirements, please email trees@portlandoregon.gov, call 503-823-TREE (8733), or schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with an Urban Forestry Tree Technician.

S. Existing street tree to be retained, including species and size

If there are existing street trees along your property frontage tree preservation will be required, unless it is demonstrated that the project cannot be completed without the removal of the street tree(s) and/or the street tree(s) are dead, dying, or dangerous.   

The location, size, and species of street trees to be preserved must be shown on your site plan. The size of existing street trees is the diameter measured 4.5 feet above the base of the tree.

Also include the location of tree protection fencing inside the curb, sidewalk, and proposed utility connections. 

Read more about tree preservation requirements

If you have questions about the street tree requirements please email trees@portlandoregon.gov, call 503-823-TREE (8733), or schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with an Urban Forestry Tree Technician.

T. Existing street tree to be removed, including species and size

The location, size, and species of street trees proposed for removal must be shown on your site plan.

Indicate that the street tree is to be removed with an “X” through the tree symbol.

Please see the Street Tree Planting Standards and Approved Street Tree Planting Lists for guidance on replanting requirements. 

If you have questions about the street tree requirements, please email trees@portlandoregon.gov, call 503-823-TREE (8733), or schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with an Urban Forestry Tree Technician.

U. White space for City stamps

As reviews are approved for your project and the permit is being prepared to be issued, reviewers will indicate their approval and requirements using standard stamps.  

Please leave some white space on your site plan for these approval stamps.

Utility Locate Number 

To ensure that proposed utility connections do not interfere with existing underground utilities, you must request to locate existing underground utilities.

Request by visiting Oregon811 Locate Requests, or call 811 or 877-668-4001.  For more information on how to use Oregon811's request system, check out the Oregon811 Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

When your request is made, you will receive the Utility Locate Ticket Number. 

The Utility Locate Ticket Number must be on your site plans.


Complex sites: Additional considerations

Environmental Zoning 

Environmental zoning requires measures to protect natural resources like forested areas, streams, and steep slopes.

Environmental zone areas are shown on zoning maps with either a lowercase “c” for the Environmental Conservation overlay or “p” for the Environmental Protection overlay.

The location of these zone lines must also be shown on your site plan and can be found on PortlandMaps. 

  1. Go to PortlandMaps.com.
  2. Enter your address in the top right of the screen. You can also zoom in and click on a property.
  3. Under the “Permits & Zoning” section, click the “Zoning & Districts” button. This will pull up a colored zoning map with the boundaries of the “c” and “p” overlays shown. 

If you have questions about the location of the environmental zone overlays or would like to request a scalable map of your property with the locations of the overlays, schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a City Planner.

100-Year Floodplain

If your property is located within a flood hazard area, new buildings must be protected from flood damage. New impervious areas such as buildings and paved surfaces are limited.

Any changes to the grade on the site or additional soil brought to the site must be reviewed for floodplain impacts. Information is available for How to Prepare if You Live or Work in a Floodplain.  

Find out if your property is located in or near a floodplain on PortlandMaps. 

  1. Go to PortlandMaps.com.
  2. Enter your address in the top right of the screen. You can also zoom in and click on a property.
  3. Under the “Public Safety” section, scroll down to the “Hazard” section to see if your property is in or near a FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area. 

If you have questions about the location of the floodplain, what can be built in a floodplain, and the information that needs to be shown on your site plan, please schedule a 15 Minute Appointment with a Site Development expert. 

Steeply Sloped Lots 

When there is a slope present on a site, ground elevations must be indicated on your site plan. In addition to providing information on the elevation for the corners of the property and corners of the building, the contour lines that follow the changes in ground level must be shown on your site plan with two-foot increments.

Typically, existing grade lines are shown with light grey or dashed lines, and finished grade (the elevation of the ground when all construction work is completed) is shown with black lines labeled with the elevations above sea level. 

For most steeply sloping lots, a survey is recommended to provide accurate information about grades on the site. To get preliminary information about the elevations on the property, you can access information on PortlandMaps. 

  1. Go to PortlandMaps.com. Next to the “Portland Maps” logo on the top left of the screen is a dropdown option for “Advanced” maps. Select the “Gallery” option. 
  2. Under the “Miscellaneous” category, select the map labeled “Topography and Contours” to pull up a map with information about elevations above sea level citywide. 
  3. Enter the property address or tax ID number in the search box or zoom in to select your property. 
  4. Elevation lines will be shown for your lot with two-foot increments. Darker lines are labeled for each ten-foot increment. 

If any retaining walls are proposed on the site, the elevations of the top and bottom of the retaining wall must also be indicated. 

Easements 

Easements are areas on your lot where other parties have rights for access.

Easements can be public – belonging to City utility bureaus for utility lines, such as water mains, water meters, or other parts of the public water system, or stormwater drainages.

Easements can also be private with private utilities like cable television, internet, or gas/electric lines.

New and existing easement locations and their purpose must be shown on your site plan. For new easements, you must provide a copy of the recorded easement with your permit application.

How to find easement information for your property

The City of Portland does not have a record of easements on your property. Easements are recorded with the county where the property is located, so you can find easement information by contacting the county recording office or working with a title company for a Title Report of documents recorded with the property (you may already have a Title Report if there was a recent real estate transaction on the property). 

Multnomah County Recorder’s Office provides information on accessing recorded documents. The information and location of easements can also be accessed through a licensed Land Surveyor if you are having the property surveyed.

Middle Housing Land Division

If you are proposing development that will be part of a Middle Housing Land Division, additional information is required on your site plan to show utility connections to each unit on the property and the location of easements for the utility connections. Please see the Middle Housing Land Division Sample Site and Utility Plan

Your site plan must also show the proposed lot lines and dimensions from the proposed lot lines to the exterior walls and all projections, such as eave overhangs and bay windows. 

Contact

General Inquiries

Development Services
phone number503-823-7300Our front desk team will be available to answer Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please leave a message if you call outside of those hours.
Oregon Relay Service711Oregon Relay Service