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Building & Planning

Temporary Closure
The Permit Center will be temporarily be closed on Fridays.
When: October 16th thru December 18th
Building and Planning staff will be available by appointment only.
Planning: 9am - 12pm     Building: 1pm - 4pm
Staff will be answering phones, checking emails, and checking voicemails.

County Responses to Questions about CERB - Mt. Solo Landfill Planning Grant RFQ
County Responses to RFQ Questions
Mt. Solo Monitoring Locations
Decommissioned Wells

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 two major divisions - the Building Division and the Planning 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!

Code Compliance Position

We have received some inquiries about the proposed Code Compliance position, so we'd like to share information with you about how the program will work. We'll start with some basic information - just the facts:

What the Code Compliance Officer position will NOT do:
- Patrol the County and seek out violations
- Trespass on private property to seek violations...
- Target individual property owners, groups, or violation types
- Retaliate or “Crack down” in ANY WAY against anyone
- Create an entirely new code compliance program where none existed before

What the Code Compliance Officer position WILL do:
- Work within the existing code compliance program, and improve service where possible
- Work collaboratively with people to obtain the necessary permits where required
- Manage existing and new case files; reduce the current compliance burden on existing staff
- Reduce the number of outstanding case files
- Provide the necessary follow through on complaints received from landowners

We are committed to achieving voluntary compliance, and helping people obtain the necessary permits. Having a position dedicated to this goal reduces the workload on our existing staff, and allows the existing staff to spend more time processing permits, which in turn increases our level of service. The position allows us to provide the necessary guidance and follow through for those case files.

For the vast majority of violations, there is a citizen who brought that concern to us through a complaint. Without adequate follow through, we are not giving them the service they expect.

As always, we are happy to answer your questions about this or any of your other concerns.

BOCC Adopts Limited Updates to Critical Areas Ordinance

To comply with new state requirements for wetland analyses, the Board of County Commissioners adopted limited changes to the Cowlitz County Critical Areas Ordinance at their December 16, 2014 meeting.  For more information, see the project page.

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. 

Check out the new citizen access portion of the new permit system here.

The citizen access portion of our new permit system can be found here.  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.

Come Visit Us on Facebook!

The Building and Planning Department has launched a new Facebook page!  We will be updating the page regularly with educational information, public meeting notifications, code update proposals, and other happenings in our department and the development world.

County Adopts Permanent Land Use Regulations on Recreational Marijuana

At a hearing held July 29th, 2014, the Board of County Commissioners adopted the proposed Recreational Marijuana Land Use Ordinance.  The ordinance identifies local land use location requirements, development standards, and application processing procedures for the production, processing, and retail sales of recreational marijuana.   
The ordinance was developed over a six-month period in conjunction with a marijuana workgroup consisting of local citizens, business owners, and industry experts.
  The permanent regulations can be viewed here.
Keep up to date on the development of the permanent regulations on our I-502 page.

We have received some inquiries about the proposed Code Compliance position, so we'd like to share information with you about how the program will work. We'll start with some basic - what it is/what it isn't facts:

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 - Thursday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
*Closed Fridays
thru December 18th*

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