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.

NEW! Online Inspection Request Form NEW!

Seasonal Burn Ban in effect from
July 15 through Sept 30, 2020.  

**UPDATE** Effective 09/24/2020

Amended Seasonal Burn Ban - Rescinded

Effective Wednesday, July 15th at 12:01 a.m. all outdoor burning in Cowlitz County will be restricted until further notice.  All land clearing, residential and silvicultural burning is restricted and all outdoor burn permits issued prior to the ban are rescinded.  Burn permits can be reissued after the ban is lifted.  Please see the Seasonal Burn Ban News Release for more information.

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. 

Inspection Services

Construction may resume in accordance with the memorandum issued by the Governor’s Office dated 5/15/20.  Memo: Resuming Construction

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.  

Although we are closed to the public, we are still accepting new applications and issuing permits!  Please see below for details.

  • New building and planning applications will be accepted online or through our drop box at the office.
  • Staff will coordinate with applicants on issuance by mail or pick up by appointment through the drop box.

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.

For questions,or to submit applications,  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 of Monday through Thursday 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  land-line. 

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The citizen access portion of our 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