System Development Charges

In 1989, the Oregon Legislature authorized local governments to charge a fee for improvements that need to be made to support new development in the community. New development brings added traffic to county roads. In 1991, after considerable public input, Jackson County decided a system development charge (SDC) was needed to support countywide road modernization. Road modernization increases the traffic capacity and safety of county roads by adding turn and travel lanes, widening shoulders as well as installing traffic signals. For further questions about Roads or Parks SDC's, contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need a system development charge?
Traffic growth from new development in Jackson County has outpaced the funds that are available to improve roads. The existing county road network is predominantly a two-lane road system that was not designed to handle the volume of traffic that new development imposes. SDC’s have been implemented to obtain financial support from developments which are contributing to the need for increased roadway capacity. Without an SDC program, Jackson County would not have sufficient resources with which to address increased traffic and congestion being created by new development.
I live on a county (or private road). Will my SDC be used to improve the road in front of my house?
Not necessarily. By ordinance, SDC's are used to fund capacity-increasing projects along Jackson County's network of arterial and collector roads. Project selection is based on many factors which can include congestion and accident history.  Local access roads, dedicated ways, private roads, and maintenance projects are not eligible for SDC’s.
Are there other resources to pay for road work?
Yes, but these resources are not large enough to increase road capacity to keep up with new development. Jackson County receives road maintenance money from the State of Oregon (vehicle registration fees, fuel taxes, and weight-mile taxes), as well as a portion of the timber harvest receipts from U.S. Forest Service land. The receipts from the U.S. Forest Service are subject to allowable timber harvest, and have dropped drastically from historic levels. SDC's are helping to stabilize funding for road modernization without relying on property taxes.
Why should new development be the ones to pay SDC's?
It is Jackson County's belief that new development should pay a fair share of the cost associated with increasing road capacity since new development is accelerating the need for capacity improvements. SDC's are dedicated exclusively to adding capacity to the existing network of arterial and collector roads.
How often will SDC's be levied?
A system development charge is a one-time fee that must be paid prior to the issuance of building permits.
Is everyone's SDC the same?
No. Each SDC is tailored to the type of development and the estimated traffic it will generate. Trip generation rates used in the SDC methodology are from the Trip Generation Manual, published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers.
How do I determine what my SDC will be?
When you take your construction plans to Jackson County Development Services to get a building permit, county staff will calculate the SDC. We've provided a PDF below which shows the Trip Generation and Fee Sheet currently being used.  You can also call Jackson County Roads (541) 774-8184 or Development Services (541) 774-6900 to get worksheets and additional information.
When must I pay the SDC?
You must arrange payment by cash, check, or installment payments before your building permit will be issued. You pay the SDC at Development Services located at the Courthouse, 10 S. Oakdale in Medford. Their phone number is (541) 774-6900.
Do I have to pay an SDC to both the City and the County?
No. If your development lies within an incorporated city, you are not subject to Jackson County's SDC program.
How do I find out what methodology was used to determine fee rates and what projects will be constructed?