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Building & Planning

Welcome!

The Building and Planning Department was established by the Board of County Commissioners to carry out the effective and reasonable administration of developmental laws and standards and to accomplish county planning, building permit coordination, environmental coordination, fire / life safety, and environmental health.

It is our goal to provide fast, fair, consistent, and friendly services to the citizens of Cowlitz County. The Building and Planning Department provides a wide-variety of permitting services through the Building Division, the Planning Division and the Operations Division.


Comprehensive Plan Update Adopted July 19

On July 19, the Board of County Commissioners adopted an updated County Comprehensive Plan, the most significant update to the plan since the late 1970s.  We are in the process of implementing the plan, so stay tuned as we work to update our webpage and our mapping resources such as the EPIC Planning Clearance tool. 
Until the EPIC program is updated, it will not return the correct comprehensive plan designation; please contact our office and we make sure you get the most current comprehensive plan information. 
We are working hard to make sure these changes are reflected in the EPIC program.  Thank you for your patience!     
 
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BURN BAN IN EFFECT 

Effective 12:01 a.m., July 15, 2017, Cowlitz County, in cooperation with emergency service officials from Clark, and other counties will be enacting restrictions on outdoor burning. On July 15, all land clearing, residential and silvicultural burning will be restricted until further notice. The Cowlitz County Fire Marshal is rescinding all burn permits issued prior to the burn ban; they can be reissued or extended when the ban is lifted.  For more information, see our Seasonal Burn Ban.

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One-Stop Permit Center
In our ongoing efforts to provide excellent customer service, we have a one-stop permit center available with representatives on-duty at all times from each division. Customers and the general public are welcome to visit the permit center in person or reach us by telephone during business hours.

Questions regarding regulations, the permitting process, development potential, construction activities, etc., will be directed to knowledgeable staff that can provide information and records. Please visit with us early in the development of your project so that we can be of the greatest assistance!

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Hours of Operation
  Monday - Wednesday 7 am to 6 pm
Thursday 8 am to 6 pm
We will be closed on Fridays.
Building inspections will be held Monday - Thursday, 7am to 6pm (except holidays).

Do you have a general permitting question? Please contact us by email -  

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Development Resource Center Now OPEN!
The Permit Center is now home to the Development Resource Center, what we call the DRC. The DRC is a workspace for our customers that provides access to computers, basic forms, printers, paper, and other tools that project applicants may need to complete their application materials.

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We want to hear from YOU!
Have you been in to the Permit Center or gotten a permit recently? If you have, we would appreciate your feedback. Please consider completing a brief survey about your experience.

Submit your project pictures - show off your success!

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Permit System Online!

The Department of Building & Planning uses a cloud-hosted permit system, designed and hosted by Accela Automation, the permit system greatly expands the capabilities of our daily permitting operations, and brings a whole host of features that catapults Building and Planning into the 21st Century.   You can now apply for a limited number of permits online- more coming soon, view permit history, schedule inspections, and even view most inspection results immediately after the inspection occurs. 

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The citizen access portion of our new permit system can be found at the link above.  Starting your own account will allow you to begin scheduling inspections, and keeping up to date on the status of your permit. In the coming months we will be adding to the list of permit types that you may apply for online and we'll be adding an online payment option, too. Please note that only permits applied for after November 17, 2014 will be viewable on the new system.  Older permits will continue to use the previous permit system portal found here

 Stay tuned as we explore the capabilities of the new permit system, and expand our availability to our customers.

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Environmental Health Unit
For all water and septic/sewer  
questions, please contact EHU at:



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Interested in a Major Project? Links to more information:

KMMEF Project Site
The KMMEF SEPA Final EIS was issued on September 30th. Please visit the project site, document library, for access to the full FEIS and Notice of Availability.

Millennium Bulk Terminals- Longview EIS - SEPA & NEPA
The Final SEPA EIS was issued in April 2017. The Final NEPA EIS is in process. The County is currently in the permitting phase of the project.  More information about SEPA or NEPA environmental reviews, and the County's current permitting processes for this major project can be found at the links below:

Visit the Cowlitz County Project Page HERE

Visit the Joint SEPA & NEPA EIS Website HERE


Contact Us

E. Elaine Placido
Director
Email

207 4th Ave. N.
Kelso, WA 98626

Ph: 360-577-3052
Fx: 360-414-5550

TTY / VCO
711 or 800-833-6384
Washington Relay

Hours
Monday - Wednesday 
7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday
8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
*Closed Fridays*
 

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