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System Development Charge (SDC) Exemption Program

The SDC Exemption Program assists developers by reducing their development costs when building affordable residential housing. Developers are exempt from paying SDCs levied by the City of Portland only when those units meet program requirements.

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Because new housing development within the City of Portland increases the need for transportation systems, parks and recreation facilities, and water works systems, new housing developments incur System Development Charges (SDCs) to fund a portion of the City's system improvements and capacity increases.

The SDC Exemption Program assists developers by reducing their development costs when building affordable residential housing. Developers are exempt from paying SDCs levied by the City of Portland only when these units meet program requirements. The SDC Exemption Program consists of four types of exemptions, and the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) is charged with the administration and monitoring of each: transportation, water, parks and environmental services.

The SDC Exemption Program has different requirements dependent on whether the exempted unit will be sold to home buyers or rented.

Select a type to view specific requirements:

Home Ownership    Rentals

Potential homebuyers can view a current list of properties with approved SDC exemption applications under Eligible Properties on the Home Ownership page.


System Development Charges

Read about SDCs and current rates for new development, additions, and changes of use.


Program Requirements

Eligible Developments

To be eligible for the SDC Exemption Program, the applicant must have site control and the proposed development must meet the following affordability requirements (per Title 30.01 – Affordable Housing Preservation, Chapter 30.01.095).

Select a type to view more about eligibility:

Home Ownership    Rentals

Compliance Requirements

The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) requires the applicant to comply with the terms and conditions outlined in their recorded Regulatory Agreement. The compliance requirements differ dependent on whether the exempted unit will be sold to home buyers or rented.

Select a type to view specific compliance requirements:

Home Ownership    Rentals


How to Apply

Instructions for developers and builders

To apply for the SDC Exemption Program, developers must submit an application and supporting documentation to the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB). Developers must apply for the program after they submit their building permit application to the Bureau of Development Services, Permit Center, but before they pay for their approved building permits and pull the permit to start construction.

See all required documents and application fees.

After receiving an approval letter, the applicant must contact the four SDC Bureaus to request the exemptions be credited to their permit in lieu of paying the SDCs. 

Please note: The SDC Bureaus will not refund paid System Development Charges.


Forms and Documents

The same SDC Exemption Application is used for both Home Ownership and Rentals, however, the application fee amounts are different. Be sure to review all of the specific information before applying, as it is different dependent on whether the exempted unit will be sold to home buyers or rented.

Select a type to view appropriate materials and helpful information for completing the application:

Home Ownership    Rentals

Please note: For buildings subject to, or opting into Inclusionary Housing, there is a shortened IH SDC Exemption Application for rental units.