Change a Property with a Nonconforming Use


A nonconforming use is a use that was lawfully established under City or county regulations but is no longer allowed due to new or changed City land use regulations or annexation into the City. You can continue a nonconforming use, which is a lawful use, until it is terminated as described in Salem Revised Code (SRC) 270.005(e).

You need approval from the City to do any of the following:

  • Extend a nonconforming use from one portion of a building into other portions of a building
  • Structurally alter or enlarge a building or structure occupied by a nonconforming use for the benefit of such use
  • Substitute one nonconforming use for another nonconforming use

You do not need approval to repair or maintain buildings or structures occupied by a nonconforming use.

Procedure type

An application to extend, alter, expand, or substitute a nonconforming use is processed following the Type III application procedures under SRC Chapter 300.


  • Pre-application conference. You must request a pre-application conference prior to submitting your application.

  • Application. You must submit all required items listed in the application checklist section below to the Permit Application Center.

  • Completeness review. Staff reviews your application for completeness. If the application is not complete, you will be notified as to what information is missing and will have 180 days to submit the additional information. You may track the status of your application online at the City of Salem permit tracking webpage.

  • Hearing date and notice. Once a complete application is submitted, staff sets the date for a public hearing with the Hearings Officer and sends notice of hearing to the applicant, property owner, neighborhood association, and property owners within 250 ft. (Staff prepares the notification list of property owners within 250 feet).

  • Posting signs. Staff prepares posting sign(s) and sends notice of posting requirements to the applicant. The applicant must post the sign(s) along street frontage(s) of property 10-14 days prior to hearing.

  • Public hearing. The Hearings Officer holds a public hearing. Staff presents a staff report, followed by testimony from applicant, neighborhood association representative, proponent(s), opponent(s), and rebuttal.

  • Decision. The Hearings Officer will make a decision based upon whether the proposal meets the applicable criteria for a quasi-judicial zone change under SRC 270.005(d)(4).

  • Notice of decision. Staff sends a copy of the decision (noting 15-day appeal period) to the applicant, property owner, neighborhood association, and anyone who submitted testimony for the record prior to the close of the public hearing. If no appeal is filed and the City Council does not initiate review of the application, the zone change decision becomes effective.

Application checklist

An application for nonconforming use extension, alteration, expansion, or substitution must contain the following:

  • Land use application form. The land use application form must be signed by the applicant(s), property owner(s), and/or duly authorized representative(s). If the applicant and/or property owner is a Limited Liability Company (LLC), please also provide a list of all members of the LLC with your land use application.

  • Land use application fee. You must pay the application fee when you file your application.

  • Recorded deeds. You must submit a copy of the recorded deeds/land sales contract, including legal descriptions.

  • Pre-Application Written Summary. You must submit a copy of the written summary of the pre-application conference that the Planning Division sent to you after the conference, or a copy of the pre-application conference waiver, if granted.

  • Trip Generation Estimate (TGE) Form. You must complete the applicant portion of the TGE form and submit the form to the Department of Public Works, Traffic Engineering Section, Room 325, to determine whether or not a Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA) is required for the application.

    • If a TIA is not required, you must submit the completed and approved TGE form with your application.

    • If a TIA is required, the TIA must be completed and approved by Public Works prior to completion of all land use applications.

  • Site plan. You must submit two copies of a site plan. One copy must be reproducible (not more than 11" x 17" and not less than 8.5" x 11") and the other copy must be to a standard scale. The site plan must include the following information:

    • Title Block:

      • Type of application (i.e.,"Nonconforming Use Application")

      • Date

      • Applicant’s name

      • Location of subject property

      • Scale

      • Directional (north) arrow

    • Total site area, dimensions, and orientation relative to north

    • Street names

    • Location and distance to property lines of all existing and proposed buildings, structures, fences, driveways, parking areas, and off-street loading areas

    • Location of all existing and proposed landscape areas, with an indication of square footage

    • Location of all trees and vegetation required to be protected pursuant to SRC Chapter 808

    • The layout of all existing and proposed parking areas, indicating the total number of spaces and the dimensions of the stalls, aisles, driveways, and turnaround areas

    • Existing and proposed use of main and accessory buildings

    • Buildings or surface features that are to be removed

    • Height of proposed and existing structures

    • Location of any surface features such as vegetation, creeks, drainage fields, topography, railroad tracks, power lines and/or any other information pertinent to the proposal

  • Written Statement. You must provide a written statement describing the proposal and how it conforms to the following approval criteria for nonconforming use extension, alteration, expansion, or substitution [SRC 270.005(d)(4)]:

    • The proposed extension, alteration, enlargement, or substitution of use is consistent with the general development character of the surrounding area,

    • The degree of noise, vibration, dust, odor, fumes, glare, or smoke detectable at the property line will not be increased by the proposed extension, alteration, enlargement, or substitution of use.

    • The number and kinds of vehicular trips will not exceed the maximums typical for the zoning district within which the nonconforming use is located.

    • The amount and nature of outside storage, loading, and parking will not be increased or altered by the proposed extension, alteration, enlargement, or substitution of use so as to cause further impacts.

    • The hours of operation for the proposed extension, alteration, enlargement, or substitution of use will not be altered or increased beyond those of the existing nonconforming use,

    • If the proposal includes the alteration or enlargement of a building or structure, the alteration or enlargement complies with the applicable development standards of the Unified Development Code and all other applicable laws, ordinances, and regulations.

Contact us

Permit Application Center Planning Desk
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 320
Salem OR 97301
Mailing address:
555 Liberty ST SE RM 305
Salem OR 97301
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