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J.E. “Sam” Ryan, CBO

5280 Northwest Drive
Bellingham, Washington 98226
Telephone: (360) 676-6907


Northwest Annex

Welcome to Whatcom County Planning and Development Services!

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 preserved and enhanced.

In our efforts to continuously improve here at PDS, the following links may be helpful and make it easier for you to stay informed:

Click Here to view our PDS Newsletter/2013 Year End Report

CLICK HERE FOR Frequently Asked Questions

Our offices are located at 5280 Northwest Drive, Bellingham, WA 98226

Permit Center hours are from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.  We have staff available from every division to answer general questions relating to zoning, building permits, natural resources, and current planning questions during those times. If you need the assistance of a specific staff member, it is best to call ahead or email that person to schedule a good time for you both. Click here for contact information.

We thank you for your patience and cooperation and welcome your thoughts about how we can continue improving our services for the citizens of Whatcom County.


Whatcom County Planning & Development Services (PDS) now requires that all residential applications be Pre-Screened by staff in order to obtain an appointment for submittal of an application.

If you have not already worked through the Pre-Screening Process with PDS staff, please come into our office (best times are from 1-4 in the afternoon) or contact us via email at at the earliest phase of your project development. Please provide us with:
  • Your Name, Phone & E-Mail
  • The Parcel Address & 16-digit Parcel Number
  • Total square footage of proposed project
  • Your proposed site plan
  • Natural Resources Assessment Case Number (Click on this for more information)

To apply for a building permit, you need to fill out the 3-page application form found in the Building Permit Application packet. Included in the packet are instructions, a list of all required information for a complete application, and the application form (fillable format) that must be filled out completely and turned in at your application appointment.

Appointments for residential, residential accessory and agricultural building applications are available Monday through Friday in the morning. Commercial application appointments are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the afternoon.Once your pre-screening is complete and you have worked through any required Natural Resource items, you can schedule an appointment by calling us at 360-676-6907 and have your contact information and 16-digit Tax Parcel number ready.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please visit our Permit Center web page or contact Whatcom County Planning and Development Services – 360-676-6907 or