Zoning permits are required when a building permit is not needed, but where planning staff must verify and approve how the site and associated development will be used. Although a building permit may not be required, construction must comply with the current building and zoning code standards.
A zoning permit is required when:
- Building or installing a garage, carport or other accessory structure– less than or equal to 200 square feet in area and less than ten feet in height at the highest point – to confirm the location on the site complies with zoning code requirements
- Creating a new or enlarged parking area or driveway, or paving a previously graveled parking area
- Making any improvements required as a condition of a land use review approval which doesn’t require a building permit (land use reviews include adjustments, conditional uses, design review, etc.)
- Making any alteration to exterior development, including site work such as constructing a patio/deck (more than 30 inches above grade), clearing trees or installing landscaping in any zone with restrictions on development
** A zoning permit is not required to:
- Build a fence (not in the front setback) up to seven feet high
- Pave a walkway
- Build a patio or deck not more than 30 inches above grade
- Put up a shed or small detached accessory building less than or equal to 200 square feet in area and less than 10 in height measured from the finish floor level to the average height of the roof (out of the required setbacks)
- Repave a driveway where no expansion has occurred
** Except in an environmental zone, in the Johnson Creek Basin Plan District or in another special overlay zone or plan district where a zoning permit may be required.
Before starting any project, please check with Planning & Zoning staff by calling (503) 823-7526 or by visiting the Development Services Center to determine:
- 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 & Zoning staffs reviews all zoning permits.
Depending on the type of project, other development - related bureaus such as the Bureau of Environmental Services or the Portland Office of Transportation may review the application.
The Bureau of Development Services’ Compliance Services section generally inspects zoning permits.
- Inspection requests: Call (503) 823-7000, push “555” on the bureau’s IVR automated system.
- Concrete/Asphalt: If the zoning permit construction includes pouring concrete or asphalt, please call for an inspection 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 portion of your project, you will need to call the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation Street Systems at (503) 823-7002 to request an inspection of your curb cut (after the forms are placed but before you pour the concrete).