Site Plan Review

Previously titled Natural Resources Assessment

Getting Started

It is important to understand the natural resource requirements of your property at the earliest possible stage of the building process. Our Site Plan Review (PDF) aims to provide that information so that subsequent building permits may be processed as quickly as possible.

A Site Plan Review Application will determine what reviews are necessary regarding:
  • Critical Areas
  • Watershed Regulations
  • Flood Regulations
  • Zoning
  • Fire
  • Health

What to Expect

The Site Plan Review (Natural Resource Assessment) process works like this:
  • The applicant contacts Whatcom County staff. Please see our front page for contact and submittal information.
  • County staff determines which land use reviews need to occur for your specific project. If no land use reviews are required, the Site Plan Review (NR Assessment) may be waived by staff.
  • The applicant returns this Site Plan Review Application (PDF) and a conceptual development site plan to Whatcom County. Permit staff will take in these documents and determine if an inspection needs to be performed to verify Critical Areas on site.
  • NR Staff may perform a site inspection.
  • PDS Staff will then compile a document which outlines all the land use requirements for a building permit submittal, or any issues that may affect future development. If there aren’t any issues or additional requirements, a Site Plan Approval document will be created for submittal along with a subsequent building permit.
  • The applicant submits a building permit application with an NR approval or NR conditions document and all documents/studies that are required.


If a proposal is within shoreline jurisdiction you will need to contact a shoreline administrator to obtain the necessary shoreline approval(s). Whatcom County Planning and Development Services will not accept a building permit application without a copy of a shoreline decision for the proposal.