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.

Cowlitz PermitQ

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 PermitQ Instructions

Cowlitz PermitQ Online 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

**Changes to Credit/Debit Payments**

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

  • Credit and Debit cards will have a 3.15% service fee for each transaction

Updated Social Distancing Measures

  • Inspections will be performed in accordance with the direction for social distancing and health and safety precautions.
  • 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 please email us at: .

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

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

The EHU reviews building proposals submitted to B&P and, if applicable, sends an email requesting applicants to fill out a form.  The form captures information about the project used to determine if and what utilities require approval.

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