Public Works Development Services (PWDS) procedures categorize all building projects, except one- and two-family residential, as Commercial Development, including commercial, industrial, multi-family residential, and mixed-use projects. Construction of a commercial development project is a multi-step process that involves many City departments. PWDS staff is the primary City representative to the developer regarding municipal water, sewer, stormwater, and transportation infrastructure. The development process includes speculation, land use, plan review, permitting, inspection, and final occupancy. Each step of the process is described below.
PWDS dedicates considerable staff resources to provide public information for developer representatives as part of the speculation process. Before a developer can make financial decisions about a project, information regarding infrastructure needs and requirements is essential. Many factors can affect the costs associated with a commercial development, including but not limited to:
- Availability of water facilities, sewer mains, stormwater facilities, and safe transportation routes.
- Systems development charges, based on water meter size, new vehicle trips, and area of new impervious surfaces.
- Connection fees. See PWDS project manager for more information.
- Boundary street requirements.
Many sources of public information are available from Development Services staff.
The City’s land use program is administered by the Community Development Department’s Planning Division. PWDS staff provides extensive findings and recommended conditions to the Planning Administrator related to public works infrastructure. When a land use application is received, a PWDS project manager is assigned to manage the project for Public Works through the multiple City processes until construction is completed.
At the land use stage, infrastructure requirements are listed as conditions of development, and infrastructure budgets become more firmly established for the developer. Because infrastructure needs can be very complex, developer representatives are strongly encouraged to coordinate with the PWDS project manager throughout the land use processes. Some references that might help a developer include:
- Water System Master Plan
- Wastewater Management Master Plan
- Transportation System Plan
- Stormwater Master Plan
- Salem Revised Code
- Public Works Design Standards
Once land use processes are completed, then the developer’s design professionals prepare building plans, which are submitted to the Building and Safety Division. PWDS staff review the building plans in order to assess adequacy of water, sewer, stormwater, and transportation infrastructure available to serve the proposed development. If all existing infrastructure is adequate, then building plans will be approved by PWDS staff based on conformance with applicable building and local codes.
If improvements are required to public infrastructure associated with the commercial development, then a separate application process is required. Construction of public improvements (e.g., street improvements, water mains, fire service connections, water meters more than two inches in size, sewer mains, and storm drainage facilities) must be designed by the developer’s engineer and submitted separately to the Public Works Counter in Room 320 of City Hall, or by mail to the Public Works Department, 555 Liberty Street SE, Room 325, Salem OR 97301.
For more information about application requirements, consult the Public Works Design Standards and Salem Revised Code Chapter 77. The separate submittal and review process for public improvements is coordinated by your PWDS project manager.
The Public Works Department has a simple fee structure for most commercial developments. For larger projects, all permit costs are collected through a one-time site development fee that is collected at the time of building permit issuance based on the amount of developed area. Smaller projects are assessed individual permit fees based on the specific work being performed. Other fees, such as systems development charges and connection fees, are often due in addition to permit fees. View a list of commercial development permit fees.
Within a few days after plan submittal, your PWDS project manager will inform you of all conditions of permit issuance. If public improvements are required, additional information will be required prior to building permit issuance. Typical requirements for public improvements include:
- A performance security in a form acceptable to the Public Works Department shall be provided.
- A completed Improvement Agreement shall be completed and signed by all parties.
- Evidence of contractor’s insurance and worker’s compensation coverage shall be provided.
- A formal, detailed, construction schedule shall be provided.
Building inspections are administered by the Building and Safety Division. Sidewalks, driveways, building sewer and storm, and erosion control are inspected by PWDS staff and can be scheduled by calling PW Dispatch at 503-588-6333. Other public improvements, if needed, are inspected by a separate Public Works inspector assigned by the Engineering Division. If you have questions about the inspection procedures, contact your PWDS project manager.
Final occupancy is administered by the Building and Safety Division. Prior to final occupancy, all permit and land use requirements must be completed and approved by the appropriate City inspectors. If you need additional assistance with the final occupancy procedure, contact your PWDS project manager.
Required public improvements must be completed prior to final occupancy. This includes submission of as-constructed plans to the Public Works Department for review and acceptance. Based on these as-constructed plans and the inspection reports, Public Works will develop a punch list of items for completion. When the as-constructed plans are accepted and the punch list items are completed, Public Works staff will recommend final occupancy of the building.