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The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

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System Development Charges

System Development Charges (SDCs) are one-time fees charged to help pay for the facilities (such as street and sewer systems) required to meet growth-related needs for the city. System Development Charges can add up when the use of a space is changed to drinking/dining. Systems Development Charges are paid at the time that a development permit (also known as a building permit) is issued. Building owners, but not tenants, can finance the SDCs through the city.

BDS has pulled together information on all the SDCs online. From there, you can also jump to more specific information on each bureau's individual website.

The Transportation SDC is charged on a per square foot of use basis, when the proposed use is seen as creating more transportation trips than the previous use of the space. Some drinking and dining establishments that are less than 3,000 s.f. in floor area will be charged the retail rate for SDCs, rather than the higher drinking and dining establishment rate. Where the retail rate can be used, and depending on the last use of the space, the SDC is generally no more than a few dollars per gross square foot. A drinking/dining/coffeeshop that is calculated by Transportation as being LARGER than 3,000 s.f. can have SDC charges in the neighborhood of $15 per square foot.

Sometimes a small drinking/dining/coffee shop is part of a larger mixed business. For example, a brewpub is a hybrid of a manufacturing use (the brewery) and a drinking/dining establishment (the pub). Or a retail store may include an area with sit-down drinking/dining/coffee shop service. In cases like these, the Bureau of Transportation will charge the entire business at the higher per square foot SDC rate when there is not a clear structural (e.g. full height glass wall) separating the two uses. The entire combined floor area of the brewery and pub could be charged at the higher restaurant rate if the combined area is over 3,000 square feet and there is no separation.

Call Transportation at (503) 823-7002 for more information on how SDCs could be charged for your particular project. View online rate tables.

The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) charges a Sanitary SDC for commercial projects whenever a development permit includes the addition of one or more new plumbing fixtures. (A new "fixture" is a sink, toilet, dishwasher, floor drain, etc.). Changing any kind of space to a drinking and dining establishment is likely to mean adding fixtures. Different plumbing fixtures are charged at different rates, and whether your business is a full service restaurant versus a deli, coffee shop or bar will affect the rates. Call BES at (503) 823-7761 for more information.

For the Water Bureau, any SDC is based on the size of meter installed. If your new project will include the addition of plumbing fixtures, a larger meter size may be required and an SDC charged. Water lines required for sprinkler systems are exempt from SDC fees. Portland Water Bureau staff is available to answer your SDC questions at (503) 823-7368 or view more information online.