Application Process

All new and remodeled food service operations must complete a plan review application. See the Washington State Retail Food Code (PDF) for the comprehensive document all Food Establishments in Washington State operate under. Please also see the Washington Department of Health Food Safety Rules and Regulations for a list of relevant links.

To avoid delays, a plan review must be submitted and reviewed before construction begins. Keep in mind it may take up to 30 days to get an initial response. If any revisions are required, this time will be in addition to the minimum processing time. Any additional revision of plans must be submitted to Environmental Health Services in writing for review and modification or approval. Please utilize the Plan Review Guidance Manual for complete information on how to fill out the Plan Review Application.

If the Plan Review is for a Mobile Food Establishment please use these documents.

Please note that a required plan review fee is due and payable prior to the plan review and pre-opening inspection. Plan review fees are charged according to the type of menu proposed and are shown on the Plan Review Application. The plan review fee is a one-time fee and does not include the operating permit fee. The food service operating permit is renewed annually. The permit year is now from October 1 to September 30. If your establishment is opening in the middle of the permit year, it may be pro-rated quarterly.

If additional inspections and services are requested or required and provided, you will be billed the hourly rate for technical assistance. See the Environmental Health Fee Schedule (PDF) for more information.

In accordance with WAC 246-215-230, a pre-opening inspection is required by the health officer to determine compliance with regulations before issuing a new permit to a new food service establishment and following extensive remodeling of an existing food service establishment. A routine inspection may be required for the renewal of a permit, before issuing a new permit to an existing food service establishment, and/or for an existing food service establishment when the on-site management has changed.

Your annual operating fee is due and payable after your pre-opening inspection and before operating. Fees are based on establishment type and seating availability. Please note that Environmental Health Services licenses owner / operators of food service establishments, not the facility.

If you have any questions regarding the plan review, or if you need further assistance, please contact the Environmental Health Food Safety Program.

Pre-Application Conference

For projects in the County (not in city limits) you will need to verify the following before applying for your FSE Plan Review:

  • A public water source is available
  • An approved septic system with an inspection by a Designer (PDF) approving change of use based on waste strength if applicable
  • Location meets appropriate zoning according to the DCD Planning Department
  • Building is approved by the DCD Building Department regarding any change of use if applicable

For a complex project we recommend scheduling a Pre-Application Conference to gain complete information on applicable codes, regulations, and processes from all departments at once for a consulting fee. For more information on a Pre-Application Conference, go to the Department Community Development Permits and Licenses page to see their Pre-Application Conference document (PDF).