Land Development Process

The Land Development Process

The land development process in Washington County consists of many stages. From the pre-application conference to final approval, a process will vary depending upon the type of development application and whether it is an urban or rural application. Current Planning staff begins the review process upon receipt of a development application. 

Specific development actions and procedures listed below are a generalized overview and may differ from what is noted below. Interested parties should review the Washington County Community Development Code for more information. NEW! Land Development Process-Part 1 brochure

Stage 01 - Pre-Application Conference

Depending on the type of development, the applicant can attend a pre-application conference to acquaint the applicant or their representatives with the requirements of the Community Development Code and other Washington County Comprehensive Plan elements. Anyone interested in pursuing a development application that does not wish to take part in the pre-application conference, must sign a pre-application waiver acknowledging their understanding of the County's requirements and dismissing their opportunity to engage in a pre-application conference.

Stage 02 - Neighborhood Meeting

The next stage is the Neighborhood Meeting for most urban and some rural actions. This provision allows for the surrounding neighbors to meet and discuss the proposal with the developer early in the process, prior to submitting a development application. Meeting Packet.

Stage 03 - Application Submittal

When a development application is submitted for acceptance and review, the applicant is notified within 30 days whether the application is complete or is lacking required documentation. If documentation is missing, the applicant must provide the missing information and can then resubmit the application for review.

Stage 04 - Public Notice

Depending upon the action type, the County may need to provide public notice. Type II and Type III applications, once accepted, are copied and sent to the appropriate Community Participation Organization (CPO). Public Notice is then provided to property owners within 500 feet urban/1,000 feet rural of the proposed action. Depending upon the application type and whether the proposed action is in the urban or rural area, the flowchart to the right outlines the process and timelines for public comment on the application.

Stage 05 - Staff Reports

Once an application is deemed complete, the County reviews the materials and drafts a staff report that weighs all of the provided materials against the applicable requirements of the Community Development Code to create findings as to whether the required standards have been met. Based on these findings a recommendation of Approved, Approved with Conditions, or Denial will be sent with the development file to the Land Use & Transportation Director for consideration. 

Stage 06 - Public Hearing/Decision/Notice

Following review of the staff report and public comment, a decision is rendered on the development application. Notices of Decision are sent to property owners residing within the notification area (500 feet urban/1,000 feet rural) as well as those who submitted comment during the open comment period. NOTE: State law generally requires final decisions for all actions to be made within a set number of days from the date an application is deemed complete; Urban area - 120 days, Rural area - 150 days.


Land Development Process 1 flowchart


Stage 07 - Reconsideration and Appeal

If an applicant disagrees with the decision made by the County, or parts of the decision made by the County, then an appeal can be filed within 12 days of the date of the decision. Additionally, any member of the public who disagrees with the decision made by the County can file an appeal within 12 days of the decision of the application.

If an appeal  is not filed within the allotted time limit then the decision is accepted, any Conditions of Approval must be completed and any required permits must be obtained prior to construction of  the proposed development. 

Filing for Final Approval

Following the County's preliminary decision, Conditions of Approval may be identified. Complete all projects prior to filing for Final Approval. Final Approval applications are required for Type II and Type III applications within the Urban Area, as well as Partitions and Subdivisions - regardless of location. Rural Area Final Approvals are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Once Final Approval is granted, the next stage is to apply for building permits.

Applications, Forms and Procedure Types