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Planning and Development Services



As a rural county with a natural-resource-based economy, Skagit County requires permitting to protect life, safety, neighborhoods, rural character, and the environment. Permits and review are required for most construction and many activities that change the use or character of the land. Learn about what types of permits are required for building and land uses, and the steps required to obtain them.

1. Where will your project be located?

Skagit County Planning & Development Services issues permits only for projects that are in unincorporated Skagit County outside of any of the cities (Anacortes, Burlington, Mount Vernon, and Sedro-Woolley) and towns (Concrete, La Conner, Lyman, and Hamilton). If your project is inside the boundaries of any of those jurisdictions, please contact them for assistance.

For projects in unincorporated Skagit County, it’s important to know your zoning designation. Look it up using your site address or parcel number on our One-Stop Property Search.

2. What do you want to do?

All activities and construction must be approved uses under the County’s land use code. Select from the following uses to see more information specific to that use:

arrowSingle-Family Residence or Accessory Structure (new, replacement, addition, or remodel)
arrowAccessory Dwelling Unit (“ADU”)
arrow Home-Based Business
arrow Other Commercial Use
arrow Recreational Vehicles (including Park Model RVs)
arrow Other Uses


Any Uses Near Shorelines
Activities and development within 200 feet of marine shorelines, most lakes, and larger streams and rivers must also be allowed by our Shoreline Master Program. Your project may be subject to special shoreline rules, setbacks, and flood regulations. Consult with our shorelines staff before you begin.

Property Management
Land divisions, boundary line adjustments, and related matters are described on our land divisions page.

Get More Specific Information
If your project is anything other than residential (e.g., commercial, agriculture, industrial, land division), you should request a pre-development meeting so that we can review your project and identify all the regulations applicable to it. Submit a Pre-Development/Pre-Application Meeting Request form.

3. Do you need a building permit?

Once you have land use approval, you may need a building permit—although some types of work are exempt from building permits. Even when work is exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit, it still must comply with the land use and building codes. You should obtain critical areas review before you start clearing or construction.

Construction exempt from building permit [Pdf], e.g., some decks and fences, small buildings
Read: Clearing, Grading, Grubbing, and Forest Practices [Pdf]

Some construction requires only simple applications and permits may be issued over the counter:

Get the application:
Installation of mechanical systems or plumbing fixtures [Pdf]
Get the application: Demolition of an existing structure [Pdf]

All other work requires a full building permit.

Go to
: Building permits for both residential and commercial construction