Kelso Planning Department

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The Planning Department is primarily responsible for the coordination and approval process for all proposed land development, and is also involved in a number of special projects and long-term land use planning activities.  The department tracks statistical information such as population estimates and other relevant demographic information.  The department performs inspections of and enforces the Critical Areas ordinance and Shoreline Master Program requirements and responds to general zoning and planning inquires.  The department also provides staff support to the city of Kelso Planning Commission, serving as a liaison between the Commission, and the City Council and the public.





The applicant is proposing a 49 lot subdivision. The property is zoned RMF, Residential Multifamily. As per KMC 17.15, this is a permitted use in this zone. Cowlitz Co Parcel numbers 24068011, 243700100, and 24370.

Determination of Non-significance

SEPA Checklist

Site Plan


SMP Narrative

Habitat Plan

Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA)


Vicinity Map

Proposed Updates

On Tuesday, February 21, 2017 the Planning Commission proposed to City Council updates to the Comprehensive Plan, Future Land Use Map, the Uniform Development Code (UDC) and Zoning Map. The documents have all gone through their first reading. The second reading is scheduled for March 21, 2017. If approved, they will be codified on March 31, 2017.

To view these proposed public documents use the following links:

DRAFT Updated Comprehensive Plan     APPROVED 03-2017 Updated Comprehensive Plan

DRAFT Updated Land Use Map

DRAFT Updated UDC    

DRAFT Updated Zoning Map

Determination of Nonsignificance
Comprehensive Plan, Future Land Use Map Uniform Development Code, and Zoning Map DNS  March 10, 2017

Shoreline Master Program

The purpose of the Shoreline Master Program is to develop a plan for managing shorelines throughout the City for compliance with the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA), RCW 90.58 The Act provides a statewide framework for managing, accessing, and protecting the Washington’s significant shorelines including rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Passed by the Washington State Legislature in 1971, the SMA reflects the strong interest of the public in our shorelines and waterways for recreation, protection of natural areas, aesthetics, and commerce. The statute requires each county and city within the state to update their Shoreline Master Program periodically. To complete this work, the Department of Ecology provided the County with a grant.

Smart Growth Implementation Report

The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments, in partnership with the city of Kelso, Washington, requested technical assistance from EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program to develop a smart growth economic development strategy focusing on the South Kelso neighborhood, specifically downtown Kelso, the South Kelso residential community, and the Talley Way industrial area.

Using Smart Growth Strategies to Foster Economic Development: A Kelso, Washington, Case Study (2015) aims to help cities like Kelso rethink how to address economic development challenges with small, manageable solutions that create stronger, more resilient communities. A smart growth economic development strategy needs to support businesses and workers and improve quality of life. Smart growth approaches bring together these elements and recognize the balance among them and the need to create long-term value in addition to short-term gains.

The report can be accessed through the EPA's website.

Comprehensive Plan

The City of Kelso Washington's Comprehensive Plan is a management tool to be used as a resource to guide decision-making in the City as well as the allocation of limited City resources. The Comprehensive Plan is based on a Vision Statement that is a description of the preferred future for the City. Below is the official Plan that was adopted by the City Council on February 17, 2015.

Consolidated Plan

The Consolidated Plan is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that large cities and all states must prepare in order to receive Federal monetary assistance from HUD Programs. The Plan is a comprehensive strategy developed by the community addressing the affordable housing and community development needs present within the community.

You will find a copy of the current Consolidated Plan here.

Cowlitz Housing First Coalition

The Washington State Legislature passed the Homelessness Housing and Assistance Act (HB 2163) in 2005, directing local governments to develop ten-year homeless plans with a goal of eliminating homelessness and cutting existing homeless in half by July 2015.

In compliance with this requirement the Cowlitz Housing First Coalition was formed.

You may see the Cowlitz Ten Year Homeless Plan – 2011 Update here.

Plan Reviews

The Planning Department's goal is to process all applications for land use development in an expedient manner. A complete and thorough application submittal offers the best chance for a timely review and permit issuance. To this end, pre-application conferences are required for many types of land use applications.

The complexity and completeness of all plans will affect the review time of construction projects. For new construction projects east of Interstate 5, a current geotechnical report will be required at time of plan submittal.

Kelso Municipal Code

Codification of the general ordinances of the City of Kelso.