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.

Effective March 31, 2020

Updated Permit Center Closure and Social Distancing Measures

Pursuant to Governor Inslee’s Stay Home - Stay Healthy Proclamation, the Department of Building & Planning will be closed to the public for the duration of the Order. Although we are closed to the public, we are now allowed to accept new applications! Please see below for our update on operations.

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 the permit system.

All staff consults and pre-application meetings will be rescheduled to a later date. Building & Planning staff will reach out to you to reschedule.

For questions, please email us at: .

We look forward to opening just as soon as we can and will provide further updates on department operations as things evolve. 

Inspectors begin Spring/Summer Schedule:

Effective Monday, March 30th, only essential building inspections will be held Monday through Wednesday 7am to 6pm and Thursdays 8am to 6pm (excluding holidays).

Inspections in the County are conducted daily; refer to seasonal schedule above. Unless specifically requested otherwise, inspection requests received prior to 7:00 AM will be conducted same business day. Inspection requests received after 7:00 AM will be conducted the following business day. 
 For requests made by telephone at: 360-577-3031, please use a  land-line.

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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.

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.

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