Building & Planning


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.

Emergency Burn Ban Extended

Effective 12:01 AM Monday, April 26, 2021, Cowlitz County, in cooperation with neighboring Counties, will be enacting restrictions on outdoor burning.  Lack of precipitation, current dry conditions, and multiple wildland brush fires have prompted this decision.  The emergency burn ban will be in place temporarily until the conditions improve but is expected to remain in effect until 12:01 AM Monday, April 26rd.  All land clearing, residential, and silvicultural burning will be restricted until further notice.  The Cowlitz County Fire Marshall is rescinding all burn permits issued prior to the burn ban; they can be reissued or extended when the ban is lifted.

Please see the Emergency Burn Ban Press Release for more guidelines on what is and is not allowed.

It's finally here! 

Our new Cowlitz Online Permit System.

Our new system is more user friendly and will allow for online permit submission, allow you to track the progress and status of your permits, make online payments, and reduce printing costs or unnecessary paperwork.  

As with any software transition, there will be bumps along the way.  We appreciate your patience as we navigate that process over the next couple months.  Additionally, we look forward to all feedback on your experience with the new system.

You will need to register for a Portal account in order to submit your permit application and access the other features of our new system.  If you already have an open/active permit, you will need to use the same email address that you used on the original permit.

Click the link below for an overview on how to set up your account and navigate the Portal.

Cowlitz Online Permit System Instructions

Cowlitz Online Permit System Portal

  1.   Register for your account
  2.   Check on the status of current active permits
  3.   Apply for new permits
  4.   Request an inspection
  5.   Pay online **eChecks are temporarily unavailable until further notice**

**Changes to Credit/Debit Payments**

Effective January 1, 2021, a service fee will be charged on all card and eCheck transactions.

  • Credit and Debit cards will have a 3.15% service fee for each transaction
  • eChecks (temporarily unavailable) will have a $3.00 per transaction fee.

Updated Social Distancing Measures

  • Inspections will be performed in accordance with the direction for social distancing and health and safety precautions.  Please see the Phase 2 Construction COVID-19 Job Site Requirements for more information.  
  • New building and planning applications will be accepted online through our new online permitting system.
  • If you currently have a permit application in process, you will continue to receive updates through standard processes including phone calls, emails with Building & Planning staff, and updates online through your permit portal.

For questions, or to submit applications,  please email us at: .

Please note that only permits applied for before November 17, 2014 will be viewable on the previous permit system portal.

Cowlitz County’s NEW Shoreline Master Program is now official!
Cowlitz County’s 2018 SMP  

Environmental Health Unit

Is a division of the Cowlitz County Health Department. For all water and septic/sewer questions,   please call 360-414-5599  ext 6426 or e-email EHU.

Utility Review of Building Projects

When requested, the EHU reviews building proposals to determine if and what utilities require approval prior to building permit issuance.  Requests are made by filling out and submitting the following form:

For more information, please visit the EHU's Utility Review webpage.

Major Projects

The KMMEF Project DSEIS is now available for public comment through 5pm on December 28th, 2018.

Notice of Availability

KMMEF Project Site

Please visit the project site, document library, for access to all SEPA documents, including the DSEIS released on November 13th, 2018.

Millennium Bulk Terminals- Longview EIS - SEPA & NEPA

The Final SEPA EIS was issued in April 2017. 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 Joint SEPA & NEPA EIS Website HERE

Visit the Cowlitz County HIA Information Page HERE