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Setbacks are the minimum distance (measured in feet) from a building to the front, side and rear property lines or any other lot line to the nearest structure placed on the property, excluding eaves of less than 24 inches. Jefferson County’s minimum rear and side setbacks are 5 feet. Generally, Jefferson County’s setbacks are:
For more details, please review our:
All parcels in the county are zoned for specific uses. There are 2 ways to view the zoning for the parcel you are interested in:
Please refer to section 18.15.040 of the UDC (Unified Development Code) for the County for the definitions of the each of the zoning designations.
The County allows parcels zoned Rural Residential 1:5 (RR 1:5), Rural Residential 1:10 (RR 1:10),an Rural Residential 1:20 (RR 1:20) to have:
You can learn more about specific land uses by reviewing the chart in our Unified Development Code (UDC) in section 18.15.040.
If you are planning on purchasing any land and/or a home in Jefferson County, we highly recommend that you speak with a Land Use Planner (using the CAM process), especially if the parcel is on shoreline or on or near any critical areas.
Permits for any parcel can be found by visiting our Permit Database Search Tool. Once there, you can type in the parcel number or address to research all permits applied for and/or issued for a property.
Building a tiny home as a residence is the same as a “regular” home (see brochure). The home needs to be sited outside any critical area buffers like streams and geohazardous areas (like landslide-prone areas). You would also need to hook it up to a septic system and have potable water. Check with Environmental Health on septic and water requirements at (360) 385-9444. If you have questions about the construction of the home, contact our Building Plans Examiner at (360) 379-4461.
Here’s a link to Labor and Industries regarding tiny homes: https://lni.wa.gov/licensing-permits/manufactured-modular-mobile-structures/tiny-homes/.
Canvas yurts can be permitted as a temporary living structure, such as seasonal camping, but may not contain a heating element or plumbing and have size restrictions. In order for a yurt to meet code and be allowed, it must be less than 500 sq feet, unheated and unplumbed and only used for temporary use, such as camping. Yurts, built using a standard canvas exterior over a wooden frame, are not able to meet energy code for heat retention and do not meet the requirements for fire, life and safety and therefore are not permissible as a residence. With these guidelines, a yurt can be permitted along with the platform or decking it will be built upon.
Hard-sided yurts are permitted so long as they meet energy code. Pre-engineered kits are available from online resources.
Please refer to Chapter 31 in the International Building Code (IBC) regarding Special Construction for more information.
An addition to an existing house (like an additional bedroom) would require the following:
If you follow the checklist you should have everything that you will need. If you have potable water on the property already, you will not have to prove potable water again, however if there is a septic on the property and you are adding another bedroom, a septic review is required. We call septic reviews "O&M"s (Operations and Maintenance inspections); depending on the type of system you have you either do this inspection once a year or once every three years.
For your floor plan we would like to have a before-and-after. Your building plans should only show the new work that is being done.
Lastly, if your property is located within shoreline or critical areas we recommend that you meet with one of our land use planners first to verify that you will not need some type of land use permit. You can walk in and meet with a Planner Monday-Thursday 10:30-12:00; additionally, Planners are available for scheduled appointments Tuesday-Thursday 1:30-4:30. The charge is $50 for every 30 minutes. Book time with a Planner here: https://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/facilities/facility/details/dcdstaffconsultations-3.
Do I need a permit for a small picnic pavilion on my property? I plan to have no water and no power going to it; just a roof for a picnic table.
Yes you would need a permit. Your project will be considered a "Pole Building." Here are the forms you will need to submit:
If this project will be in the City of Port Townsend then you will need to contact them at 360-379-5095. If your project will be within the county you will need the following:
If there is a septic on the property you will need to get a septic review from Environmental Health. We call septic reviews "O&M"s (Operations and Maintenance inspections); depending on the type of system you have you either do this inspection once a year or once every three years. If there is not a septic on the property then you will not need that review.
Who do I talk to about preliminary questions as I begin to research the planning of a home or other structure to be built in Jefferson County?
DCD offers a suite of options to answer questions and help plan development. Fees start at $50 for a 30 minute appointment. Customer Service fees up to $94 may be credited to a project application if the customer applies within one year from the date of the meeting or customer service provided.
Do I need a permit for a building I want to put on my property for my tools and non-agriculture vehicles? It will have no door, no windows, no heat, no water and no power going to it.
Yes you would need a permit. Here are the forms you will need to submit:
Additionally, if you don't have an address on the site, you will need to apply for one.
Yes, we require setbacks and any foundation rebar to be inspected prior to pouring concrete. Also, you must wait until the permit has been approved and issued before beginning any work.
As long as there is no change to the type or pitch of the roof and the trusses are not being touched, re-roof permits are over-the-counter. Otherwise, you will want to speak with our Permit Tech about your project.
For over-the-counter permits, submit your Re-Roof Permit and be prepared to pay the re-roof permit fee as listed on page 2 of the permit.
You can find our code in several places on our website:
Fireplace insert permits fall under the category of Mechanical Permits. Fireplace insert permits are issued over-the-counter. You only need to submit one form, the Mechanical Permit Application and a site map.
If you are installing new lines you will need to include the fee for adding the lines. More clearly stated:
These fees are listed on the second page of the permit application.
When you come in to submit the permit, bring with you a completed Mechanical Permit Application and site map and be prepared to pay the fees appropriate to your situation.
You only need to apply for a remodel permit if you are moving walls, changing or tapping into existing plumbing or need the modification to be noted for banking (selling, purchasing, etc.) or other legal purposes. Your permit may qualify for over-the-counter processing if no bedrooms are proposed to be added. Please review our Application Packets page for more details on the remodel application requirements.
The homeowner is responsible to submit all permits, but contractors often include it as a convenience for their clients. Check with your contractor to see if they plan to submit for you or not.
Yes, electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and air-conditioning equipment and other service facilities need to be installed above the flood plain. Pursuant to UDC 15.15.080 Provisions for flood hazard reduction section (1)(b)(iii), "electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and air-conditioning equipment and other service facilities shall be designed and/or otherwise elevated or located so as to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding. Locating such equipment below the base flood elevation may cause annual flood insurance premiums to be increased."
The minimum height for a deck before it requires a rail is 30 inches.
For installing road name signs, call Public Works' shop at (360) 385-0890. For all other sign questions please complete a CAM request form and send to DCD.
If you have property off of a named road, you may optionally name it at any time. You MUST name your road if your road extends more than 1,000 feet from a named road and/or if the road has four or more assigned emergency locator numbers on it.
The forms below will assist you in the road naming process:
Please contact the Department of Community Development for a list of current road names in use.
The cost to the petitioner to name a road is $428.40. If there are emergency locator number already assigned to adjoining parcel owners that will be serviced by the road, there will be no additional cost to have their address changed to the new road name. If there are adjoining parcel owners that are not currently assigned an emergency locator number and they would like one, the cost is $115 for each emergency locator number assigned (new addresses are typically $276).
If you would like to demolish a building, you will need to submit a Demolition Form to both Community Development and Olympic Regional Clean Air Agency (ORCAA).
If you choose to demo, please complete the following steps:
The documents required to build a garage are the same as a regular building permit, but we only need the items that apply to your project. Here are the exact forms and documents required for a complete submittal of a Garage Permit Application:
Forms and documents required for a complete submittal of a Garage Permit Application:
If you are going to put plumbing in the garage then you will need to comply with Environmental Health’s requirements with septic/sewage.
For an estimate of permit fees send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating the square footage, estimated cost of the project, and the project description.
Most permits have the fees listed on the back of the application. If your application does not list the fees, or if you need an estimate for new building application we can provide you with an estimate of those fees.
Please email the project info listed below to email@example.com
Fences are exempt from building permits if they are under 7 feet high and not on shoreline (or in an area with critical areas). This information can be found on the 2nd page of Brochure #30: Single Family Residence: https://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/627/Single-Family-Residence-PDF?bidId=
Fences cannot be built within the County right-of-way. If the property line is close to a road, Public Works would most likely require the clear zone be met as we do for utility structures (poles, vaults, etc.). For example, on a 25 mph road, the setback would be 10 feet from the edge of pavement. Additionally, a fence cannot block site distance. Setback information can be found here: https://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/618/Residential-Setbacks-PDF?bidId=
A fence, no matter what the material, is still a fence over seven feet. For example, a barbed wire fence in a pasture that is 5' high and all barbed wire and posts is still a fence. The intent of the code though is concerned with the fence over 7' high becoming a sail or just falling over and causing more damage than a 5' high fence made of the same material.
When reviewing a request for a new address, we check to see whether or not the location of the requested address is off of an unnamed road or not. If an address application is received for a site on an unnamed road that is more than 1,000 feet from a named road or for a site on an unnamed road that has an existing addressed site that is more than 1,000 feet from a named road, or if an application is received for a fourth emergency locator number on an unnamed road The road shall be named at the expense of the applicant. You can learn more about the road naming process at the following links: