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Thurston County, Washington

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.

Community Planning and Economic Development

Figuring out what you can do with a property - sometimes called feasibility - is determining what is allowed by zoning and other regulations. County codes are usually drawn from state and federal environmental, health and safety regulations per the Washington State Legislature’s Growth Management Act. 

How to Get a Firm Answer

To find out exactly what you can and can’t do with absolute assurance, you have to apply for a permit. The county will review your application forms and all the documents, drawings, reports and other information that you submit as part of your packet. The county will either issue a permit, or let you know next steps.

The county can’t provide absolute assurance of what can or can’t be done based on speculative or future plans. As staff, we relate to the struggle, and wish we could give firm answers to questions before you submit an application, but as a regulator, the county role is to review actual submitted applications, drawings, site plans, environmental reports and other detailed documents against county codes.  

Start by Pre-Planning & Site Planning 

  • Pre-planning starts by checking the property’s tax parcel data sheet or the County Maps to see which (if any) regulated environmental or hazardous geological areas are mapped on a property. (See Find Out What You Can Do with a Property, steps 1-4)
  • Next, work through the other considerations that may affect what you’re proposing. All of the property and project considerations related to pre-planning a project are on the Look Up Your Property web page.

What Staff Do with Feasibility Questions

When asked “Can I do this with my property?” Staff work through the steps and considerations listed on the Find Out What You Can Do with a Property web page.

Suggested Actions to Help You Make Decisions

  • Start with steps 1-4 on Find Out What You Can Do with a Property.
  • Consider ordering a Critical Areas Determination report from the county if a property is mapped with critical or environmental areas.
  • Consider requesting a Pre-submission Conference meeting if you have some proposed plans you want to discuss with county building, environmental, septic and other experts. You can discuss your ideas without committing the time or money to fully develop a project.  The county still can’t give firm answers, but you will know a lot more about the code realities you’ll need to consider.