Critical Areas /Prairies - Visit the Planning Dept. website.
Whether you are building your dream home or a new commercial structure, the Permit Assistance Center can guide you through the process. We work closely with staff from other departments to provide a one-stop center where permit-applicants can meet all their needs. The Permit Assistance Center is part of the Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department.
Hours and Location
The Permit Assistance Center is located at the Courthouse Complex in Building 1 on the Second Floor, and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Planning staff is available to answer your questions about land use (zoning, critical areas, shorelines) during regular hours of operation, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Staff from Environmental Health are available to respond to your questions about septic systems and wells Tuesday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., only. For more contact information, click here.
Permit Reviews on Gopher Soils
Applications for projects on gopher soils may need a site visit during
the permit process. Please note that the last day of site visits this year
is anticipated to be October 31, 2014, weather permitting.
It is advisable to submit your application before October 6 to help ensure we can accommodate all requests.
On April 8, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed four subspecies of the Mazama pocket gopher under the federal Endangered Species Act. This summer, the County has been working with USFWS to review applications for projects in areas where pocket gophers may exist. The County does not currently require applicants to hire professional biologists to perform site visits. If a biologist’s survey is necessary, USFWS will make a formal request in writing. Though this is the first year Thurston County is working directly with staff from USFWS, the county has used a seasonal approach to gopher site visits for the last five years. During the off-season (Nov. 1 - May 31), gophers are not as active in constructing mounds, and field surveys are much less reliable. This seasonal approach was originally developed in 2009 by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
County and USFWS staff conduct site visits to determine if gophers are present and if so, whether the proposed project would have an impact on their habitat. Site visits are used as a screening tool by Thurston County staff to assist the applicant (Chapters 24.05.027 & 17.15.320 TCC). USFWS sends a letter to the County every week stating which projects are “good to go” with respect to gophers, and which projects may require additional technical assistance or planning.
People without applications currently pending or those with vested lots can also request a site visit. A fee may be assessed for these visits. .