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Building & Planning

We changed our hours to better serve you!
New hours:
 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).

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.

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

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


Stop by our new Building & Planning Blog!

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.

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!

What's New!

New Permit System Now Operational and Online!

We have launched a new permit system!  Brought you by Accela Automation, the new permit system greatly expands the capabilities of our daily permitting operations, and brings a whole host of new features that catapults Building and Planning into the 21st Century.   You can now apply for permits online, view permit history, schedule inspections, and even view most inspection results immediately after the inspection occurs. 


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 applying for permits, scheduling inspections, and keeping up to date on the status of your permit.  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

The new system will allow us to bring more accurate information easily and more quickly than we could ever before.  Stay tuned as we explore the capabilities of the new permit system, and expand our availability to our customers.

Submit your project pictures - show off your success!

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 MBTL DEIS for both NEPA and SEPA are currently in process. More information about the project can be found at the link above.

Visit the Cowlitz County Project Page HERE

Visit the Joint SEPA & NEPA EIS Website HERE

Contact Us

E. Elaine Placido

207 4th Ave. N.
Kelso, WA 98626

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

711 or 800-833-6384
Washington Relay

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

Voluntary Stewardship Program
Cowlitz County is participating in the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) - an optional, incentive-based approach to protecting critical areas while promoting agriculture. Voluntary Stewardship Website
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