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Zoning Permits

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Get a zoning permit from the City of Portland. Learn about when a zoning permit is required, when a zoning permit isn't required, and how to get started with a zoning permit application. Find all of the required forms for a zoning permit.
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All building development in the city must comply with the Zoning Code, regardless of other codes and permit requirements. A zoning permit is a permit for development that does not require a building permit. 

Zoning permits verify that development complies with the Portland Zoning Code (Title 33) and Tree Code (Title 11). These Titles have requirements such as environmental and design standards, window and garage requirements, tree removal, planting and preservation, building coverage, building height, and setbacks. 

When a zoning permit is required 

  • 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 demonstrate zoning compliance when development does not require a building permit, such as tree planting to meet tree density prior to land use approval.
  • Development that does not require a building permit but is required by a condition of a land use review approval, such as a historic resource review approval, design review approval, or an environmental review approval.
  • Proposing development that does not require a building permit but requires zoning compliance within some Plan Districts or Overlay Zones—such as Environmental overlay zones. 
    • Example: building a patio or deck in the environmental zones.

When a zoning permit is optional

For work that does not require a building permit, is not required by a land use condition of approval or to show compliance with a land use requirement, and is not in an overlay zone or plan district that restricts or limits the development. 

Examples include:

  • 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 small detached accessory building (such as a shed, garage, or carport) that is smaller than one which requires a residential building permit.
    • Note: These buildings will count toward the building coverage and floor area limits in every zone; whether or not they are large enough to require a building permit.
  • Repave a driveway where no expansion is proposed

Get help from a city planner before starting a project

Please call General Inquiries at 503-823-7300.

If you leave a message please 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. 

Apply for a zoning permit

Application

To apply for a zoning permit, complete the application linked above.

Plans

Plans that are drawn to scale are required for a zoning permit.

Based on the scope of work proposed, the following plans may be required:

  • site plan
  • grading plan
  • landscape and tree plan
  • floor plans
  • exterior elevations

Submit your completed permit application and plans online through Development Hub PDX (DevHub).

Apply for a zoning permit on DevHub

Quick instructions to get you started on DevHub:

  1. Choose "Building Permit" in the Request Type dropdown menu.
  2. Enter "Zoning Permit" in the Description of Work field.

Click here for step-by-step instructions to submit a permit application request online. 


Plan review process

Planning and Zoning staff reviews all zoning permits. Other bureaus like the Bureau of Environmental Services or the Portland Office of Transportation may also review the application.

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.

Inspection process

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).


Need help?

Additional resource

Read through the requirements for a zoning permit plan submittal here:  

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.

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

Requests for Inspection

Development Services
phone number503-823-7000Automated Line - Requires an IVR or permit number
Oregon Relay Service711Oregon Relay Service