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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.

       BURN BAN STARTS JUNE 21, 2019

Effective Friday June 21, 2019, Cowlitz County, in cooperation with partnering agencies, will enact restrictions on outdoor burning. All land clearing, residential and silvicultural burning will be restricted until the ban is lifted.

Building Inspections: 


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 
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!
Hours of Operation
Monday - Wednesday 7 am to 6 pm
Thursday 8 am to 6 pm
We are closed on Fridays.
*Planning Staff Available By Appointment Only Wednesdays from 4pm to 6pm*

Do you have a general permitting question? Please contact us by email -  
Cowlitz County's NEW Shoreline Master Program is now official!

Cowlitz County's 2018 SMP



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 found here


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


Interested in a Major Project? Links to more information:

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

Contact Us

E. Elaine Placido

207 4th Ave. N., Room 119
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*

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