Planning & Development Services

Service Change

Whatcom County Government is committed to caring for the health and well-being of our employees, customers and our communities and to reducing the threat of the Coronavirus or COVID-19. In response to the public health concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19,  the Whatcom County Planning & Development Services (PDS) and Public Works Engineering Services departments are temporarily closed to public “in person” services.(Our lobby/Permit Centers will be closed to the public.) However, we are still very much “open for business”. We will continue to provide services for permit processing and staff will be available to assist customers and the public via telephone, email and video conferencing options.

We encourage our customers to utilize the following online and telephone options:

How Do I?

  • Make a General Property Inquiry--complete this online form and our staff will get back to you either by phone or email.
  • Submit a Residential Building Permit Prescreen--complete this fillable form and email it along with at a minimum the following: project narrative (what do you want to do?), site plan and preliminary structural plans to epermits@co.whatcom.wa.us.
  • Get a Commercial Building Permit Prescreen--please send an email request and information  epermits@co.whatcom.wa.us.
  • Contact PDS
  • Submit an application or permit--email epermits@co.whatcom.wa.us. with your application materials and our staff will review and get back to you with instructions and questions.
  • Request a Building Inspection--PLEASE NOTE: AT THIS TIME, DUE TO GOVERNOR INSLEE’S STAY HOME-STAY HEALTHY ORDER WE ARE ONLY ACCEPTING INSPECTION REQUESTS FOR EMERGENCY REPAIR OR INSPECTIONS ON CONSTRUCTION RELATED TO ESSENTIAL ACTIVITIES. VIEW FULL STAY HOME-STAY HEALTHY ORDER 20-25, WA ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE APPENDIX AND VIEW GUIDANCE MEMO ON CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES. Please call our office at 360-778-5900 to discuss your inspection request. We will only consider scheduling inspections if it is an approved project as stated by the Stay Home Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25).  For more information visit our Building Services webpage.
  • Pay for my permit--To pay for your permit or application you will receive an email from staff with the permit balance due.  Once you have received this information you can pay for your permit by the following options:
    • Credit or Debit Card. Call 360-778-5900 to arrange payment. (there is a 2.35% transaction fee on credit cards, $1.00 for debit cards.)
    • Mail a check payable to Whatcom County Planning to 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham WA 98226. (please include your permit number on the check)
  • Get my permit issued--once your permit fees are paid, staff can email you a .pdf version of your permit and plan set. 
    • If you had previously submitted a hard copy version of your plans, the building service inspector can provide you with your "Job site copy" at your pre-construction meeting (i.e. first inspection)
    • You can also request PDS Staff snail mail you your permit and "Job Site Copy" of your plans or you can request to pick up your plan drawings at our office. Permits ready for pick up will be left outside under our covered foyer during business hours.
  1. Planning & Development & Public Works Engineering Change In Service

    Planning and Development & Public Works Engineering Departments will temporarily close for "in person" services effective Wednesday March 18th. We will still be "open for business" but providing services via telephone, email and video conferencing. Read on...
  2. New Pilot Project -- Do It Yourself Mitigation Plan

    Whatcom County announces a pilot project to allow single-family homeowners to complete their own mitigation plans. This Do it Yourself (DIY) mitigation packet is for projects impacting 1,000 square feet or less of critical area buffers. Read on...
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Planning and Development Services Mission Statement

The mission of Planning and Development Services is to ensure growth and development occurs in a manner that protects public health, safety and welfare, preserves the natural environment and ensures the quality of life enjoyed by citizens and visitors in Whatcom County is maintained and enhanced.