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Driveway Design Exceptions

How to apply for an exception to the driveway standards of 17.28.110.

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What is a Driveway Design Exception?

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has multiple rules which impact the design of driveways.  These include Title 17.28.110 https://www.portlandoregon.gov/citycode/article/461717- Driveways- Permits and Conditions and TRN 10.42- Access Requirements for Parking Structures.  If a project cannot meet the requirements but would still like to seek vehicular access, a Driveway Design Exception can grant an exception to the standards.

Applying for a Driveway Design Exception does not guarantee approval.  The request will be reviewed by a PBOT Development Review Traffic Engineer.  The engineer may approve, approve with conditions, or deny the request.  Exceptions are granted only for a specific development proposal.  They are not transferrable from one development proposal to another. 

A Driveway Design Exception cannot modify a zoning code (Title 33) standard and does not alter completed land use reviews.  A new or amended land use review may be required to incorporate changes from a successful Driveway Design Exception.   

It is a good idea to discuss your case with PBOT Development Review staff before filing a Driveway Design Exception.  If you have an in-process review such as a building permit or land use case, please work with the assigned PBOT reviewer.  If you do not have an in-process review, you may contact PBOT Development Review staff by visiting the Development Services Center or calling 503-823-7002.  Please leave a message and someone will return you call as soon as we can.

Who reviews Driveway Design Exception Requests?

Driveway Design Exception requests are reviewed by the PBOT Development Review traffic engineers.  It is probable the engineer reviewing your request is not familiar with your project.  Please do not assume the engineer knows anything about your project or will have time to do background research into matters which are not the result of PBOT requirements.   If there are conflicts with requirements from other bureaus that are the reason why you are applying, please explain this in your submittal.  If there are conflicts with utilities, street trees, or other physical barriers that would make meeting the standard difficult or prohibitively expensive, please explain this as well in your submittal. 

What is the fee for a Driveway Design Exception?

There is a non-refundable fee of $250 per application. This applies whether the driveway is for residential, commercial or industrial use.  (Portland Policy Document TRN-3.450) .  Denials will not be refunded.

What materials do I need to apply for a Driveway Design Exception?

This checklist aims to assist customers in preparing a complete application and to reduce review times by PBOT Traffic Engineers. The following items are necessary to render a well-informed decision in an efficient and timely manner.  Please keep in mind the engineer reviewing your request is unlikely to be familiar with your project.  If there are conflicts with requirements from other bureaus that are the reason why you are applying, please explain this in your submittal.  If there are conflicts with utilities, street trees, or other physical barriers that would make meeting the standard difficult or prohibitively expensive, please explain this as well in your submittal. 

  • A completed Driveway Design Exception Request form with thorough project description and thoughtful rationale for requesting the exception.  A link to the form is at the bottom of this page.
  • Site plan(s), to scale, including existing and proposed elements with dimensions.  Preferably, the site plan is no larger than a 11”x17” page size. 
    • At a minimum, the plan should include property lines, curb lines, sidewalks, the adjacent street area, the driveway(s) for which an exception is being requested, any other driveways on the property, width of driveways, distance between driveways, distance between driveways and lot corners, and all street furniture and other obstructions in the area of the driveway such as utility poles, signs and trees.
    • For commercial driveways (non-residential or 3 or more units) include building footprints and parking lot layouts with spaces and direction of travel.
    • Also attach any other supporting documentation such as communications with City staff, turning movement exhibits, cross sections, traffic reports, etc.
  • Driveway profile cross section (if applicable) 
  • Supporting photographs 
  • Civil drawings and associated Public Works job number (if applicable)
  • Any applicable Checksheet, Early Assistance, Pre-Application, or Land Use response which is associated with the request. Include specific code requirement being reviewed, and/or any proposed Modification or Adjustment being requested. 
  • TSP classifications for street
  • Posted speed limit
  • Average daily traffic (ADT) if available.  Public traffic count information can be found atPBOT’s Traffic Volume Countspage.

Providing the listed information will ensure staff has all the necessary information to review the request. Failure to provide all the necessary information may result in considerable wait times or the application being rejected. 

I have my application materials together.  How do I submit the request?

Please email the form and supporting documents in .pdf format to DrivewayDesignException@portlandoregon.gov.

You may also mail or hand-deliver requests to:

City of Portland - 5th Floor Reception
Attn: PBOT Building Plan & Development Review (299/5000)
1900 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, OR 97201

**SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING COVID-19**

During the duration of the City’s state of emergency, mailed applications will not be processed. Please submit all materials via email.

**

Once your application and supporting documentation have been received, you will receive an email confirmation with your case number and instructions on how to make the online payment via the Bureau of Development Services Dev Hub.  Please monitor your email inbox for an email from DrivewayDesignException@portlandoregon.gov.  You may have to check your SPAM filter.

How do I pay for the request?

A Driveway Design Exception (DDE) fee of $250.00 will be charged at the time of request. (Portland Policy Document TRN-3.450)  The DDE request form will not be processed without the payment of the DDE fee.  Payment may be made by check, cash, or credit card, and submitted to the above address.

If you have emailed in the request, a PBOT staff member will set up a bil­­­l that you can pay online via the Bureau of Development Services Dev Hub .  Please monitor your email inbox for an email from DrivewayDesignException@portlandoregon.gov.  You may have to check your SPAM filter. 

How long does the review take?

Plan on a minimum of 3 weeks for the initial review.  Additional time may be needed for revisions.  The more complex the situation, the longer the review is likely to take. 

For DDE’s associated with a land use review, PBOT recommends the DDE be submitted at the time of land use application.  The completed DDE must be submitted prior to PBOT considering the land use application complete.  The DDE must be reviewed and approved by PBOT prior to PBOT supporting approval of the land use review. 

For projects without a land use review, just a building permit, PBOT recommends submittal of the completed DDE with the initial building permit submittal. 

I still have questions.  Who can I contact?

Please ­email your questions to DrivewayDesignException@portlandoregon.gov.

What if I disagree with the outcome of a Driveway Design Exception request?
 

Safety is the primary consideration in reviewing Driveway Design Exceptions.   Not all requests will be able to be accommodated.  You may work with the traffic engineer reviewing your request to see if there is a way to modify the proposal to achieve approval.  This may require submittal of a new application depending on the situation.  Once a decision is issued, the Driveway Design Exception decision is final and conclusive.  The decision may not be appealed under 17.28.110. 

Forms

Driveway Design Exception Checklist (under development)