The City of Portland requires zoning permits even when a building permit is not needed. Planning staff still needs to verify and approve how the site is used and developed. Construction must follow the current building and zoning code standards.
Click here for step-by-step instructions to submit a permit application request online or in-person.
When a zoning permit is required
- Building or installing a garage or carport. This applies when it is smaller than one which requires a residential building permit to confirm the location on the site complies with zoning code requirements.
- Creating a new or enlarged parking area or driveway, or paving a graveled parking area.
- Making any improvement required to resolve a code compliance case, or as required by a condition of your land use review approval which does not require a building permit
- Tree planting to meet tree density prior to approval of a Replat, Lot Confirmation, Property Line Adjustment or Final Plat.
- Proposing development that does not otherwise require a building permit within Overlay Zones—such as Environmental, Design and Historic Resource Protection—and sites within Plan Districts, unless an exemption applies. For example, historic review may be required to paint the exterior of a historic landmark, design review may be required to replace exterior siding, or environmental review may be required to build a patio or deck. Call Planning and Zoning Information to confirm the zoning rules for your site and project.
When a zoning permit is not required
For the following work outside of overlay zones (see above):
- Build a fence up to seven feet high in compliance with Zoning Code requirements for fences
- Pave a walkway
- Build a patio or deck not more than 30 inches above grade
- Put up a shed or small detached accessory building that is not a garage or carport. This applies when it is smaller than one which requires a residential building permit
- Repave a driveway where no expansion has occurred
Apply for a zoning permit
If you have questions before starting a project, please call and leave a message with the Zoning Information Line. Your message should include your name, the property address, your basic questions, and a call-back number for us to reach you.
A Planner will return your call and help you determine the following:
What types of plans you will need to submit with your zoning permit application
If there are any specific requirements
If the project requires a land use review before it may proceed
Planning and Zoning staff will help you understand the permit process and figure out next steps.
Zoning permit application requirements
Read through the requirements for a zoning permit plan submittal here:
Plan review process
Zoning permits are required when a building permit is not needed, but where planning staff must approve how the site will be used. Construction must follow the current building and zoning code standards.
The Bureau of Development Services’ Compliance Services section generally inspects zoning permits.
Inspection requests: Call the Requests for Inspection and Inspection Results phone number for more information.
Concrete/asphalt: If the zoning permit construction includes pouring concrete or asphalt, please call for an inspection. This should happen once the forms are placed, but before you pour. This will allow the inspector to check the form placement against the approved plans.
Curb cuts: For any curb cut, call the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation Street Systems at (503) 823-7002. This is to request an inspection of your curb cut (after the forms are placed but before you pour the concrete).
Still need help? Schedule a 15-minute appointment
If you have questions after reviewing the information on this page, please schedule a free 15-minute appointment with a city planner.