Permit Review & Approval Process

All permits, including applications for allowed "Yes" uses such as residential building permits, are subject to a planner-conducted land use analysis that includes review for consistency with UDC development standards, environmentally sensitive areas, and stormwater provisions.

Process by Permit Type


Pre-application conferences with DCD staff are required for all Type II and III permit applications and for certain Type I permits (see the Pre-Application Conference request form) to orient applicants with the provisions, procedures and criteria for permit approval required by the UDC.

After a pre-application conference (if required), and an application and the applicable fees are submitted, DCD has 28 days to determine if the application is substantially complete. If it is not complete, the applicant has 90 days to provide all the missing information.

Once the application is complete, DCD issues a notice of application (if required) and, following a minimum 14-day public comment period, issues a determination pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). If a determination of non-significance is issued (DNS), in most cases, public notice of the determination and of the application will be posted on the property, mailed to the adjacent property owners, and published in the newspaper. If a determination of significance (DS) is issued, the applicant would begin preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Appeals of SEPA threshold determinations (except for a DS) on most project permits may be made to the Jefferson County Hearing Examiner. An optional DNS process will be utilized in most cases which allows for early notification of the "likely" SEPA threshold determination to be included with the notice of application.

Generally, DCD has 120 days or less to issue a permit decision once the application has been determined to be complete. However, this does not include time required for preparation of an EIS, if required, or any period during which the applicant has been requested to provide additional information or if substantial project revisions have been made to the application.

Type I Permit


After the public comment period for applications that involve SEPA review or the agency comment period for proposals that are within the jurisdiction of other agencies, the Administrator determines whether the project is consistent with the criteria for approval and may approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application. The Administrator's action on the permit (except for administrative code interpretations) may only be appealed to Superior Court.

Type II Permit


After the public comment period, the Administrator reviews the proposal and determines whether the project is consistent with the criteria for approval in the UDC and may approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application. For "C(d)" uses, the Administrator will review the potential impacts of the proposal and, upon determining the application to be complete, make a determination as to whether a public hearing should be required on the application. The Administrator's final decision on the permit may be appealed to the Jefferson County Hearing Examiner by filing a written appeal and appropriate fee within 14 days of the decision.
  • Hearing Procedures (Ordinance Number 01-0203-03)

Type III Permit


After the public comment period, DCD staff will schedule a public hearing before the Jefferson County Hearing Examiner and prepare a staff report prior to the hearing. The staff report will analyze whether the proposed project is consistent with the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan and the provisions of the UDC. At the public hearing, the Hearing Examiner will review the staff report, the applicant's presentation, and all public comment and testimony. Within 10 days after the close of the hearing, the Hearing Examiner will determine whether the proposal is consistent with the applicable criteria for approval in the UDC and may approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application. The Hearing Examiner's final decision on the permit may be appealed by a party of record within 14 days to a Jefferson County Appellate Hearing Examiner by filing a written appeal and appropriate fee.

Type IV Permit


The Board of County Commissioners will determine whether the requirements granted under preliminary plat approval have been satisfied in granting final plat approval. The Board's action on the permit may only be appealed to Superior Court.

Type V Permit


With certain limitations, Comprehensive Plan amendments may only be made once a calendar year and must conform to the "docketing" schedule established in Section 9 of the UDC. Amendments to the UDC itself (if consistent with the Comprehensive Plan) may occur more frequently. In all cases, a staff report from DCD will be prepared to analyze the proposed amendments for consistency with the Comprehensive Plan and the Washington state Growth Management Act. Staff will schedule a public hearing before the Jefferson County Planning Commission. Upon the close of the hearing, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation on the proposed amendments to the Board of County Commissioners. The Board will make the final decision on the proposed amendments. Appeals of the Board's decision on Comprehensive Plan or UDC amendments may be made to the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board (WWGMHB).

For more information on Type V Permits or legislative actions, visit the Long-Range Planning page.