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Thurston County, Washington

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Community Planning and Economic Development

How to Prepare Your Application Packet 

Step 1  Find out if you need a permit. Some projects don’t.

Step 2   Find out if critical areas or environmental rules apply to the property.

  • Work through Step 3 on the Find out what you can do with a property page. 
  • If the project property has regulated areas, you may need an environmental review of the property from an expert before you take any ground disturbing actions on site. (This is explained in Step 4 and includes proposed next steps).
  • If you're not sure, you can order the county's Critical Areas Determination report  to see if you need to hire an environmental expert.)

Step 3  Get & Read the Applications & Forms 

  • Many projects require multiple forms. Find the right forms for your project on the Applications & Forms page.
  • Forms ask many detailed questions about the property & project.
  • You may find many answers to questions about the property by using the links on Look Up Your Property webpage.

Step 4  Prepare Your Site Plan

  • What it is: A site plan is a scale drawing of the project property and all existing and planned buildings, driveways, concrete areas, septic, well, yard, garden & other project work.
  • When you need it: Draw your site plan AFTER you have the critical area / environmental reports (if you need them) to avoid putting your project in the critical / environmental area or its buffer.
  • Your forms provide instructions. Learn more site plan requirements
  • What can keep your project on track: Site plan must show that your project avoids any critical/environmental areas on site and must be clear, easy to ready, legible, identify which buildings, structures or elements will be new, and which were already there. Very important that it's clear in order to avoid delays in processing your packet.

Step 5  Estimate your fees. 

  • Fees are determined by what you want to build or do. 
  • Go to Fee Information to learn about and estimate fees for your project before submitting an application packet. 
  • County staff can help you estimate fees, but actual fees are calculated when we see your complete application, plan, drawings, any expert reports, etc.

Step 6  Submit completed application packet & pay fees.

  • Find details at Where & How To Submit Applications.
    • Most application packets must be submitted in person or mailed to the County's Building Development Center. Some can be emailed. 
  • Fees due at the time you submit your packet. Pay by cash, check (to Thurston County) or credit card (transaction fees apply).  
  • Incomplete application packets not accepted. If something is missing, staff will let you know.