Grade, Fill or Clear My Property

Grading and Filling Your Property

Grading is the movement of dirt, both cut (removal of dirt from an area) and fill (placement of dirt in an area). Grading also refers to stump removal during logging operations. If you are doing any of these for your project, you must know the volume of dirt you will be moving. The following volumes require a Site Development Activity Permit:

  • 150 – 499 cubic yards – Site Development Activity Permit Grading 1

  • 500 – 4,999 cubic yards – Site Development Activity Permit Grading 2

  • 5,000 cubic yards and greater – Site Development Activity Permit Grading 3

Additional considerations may warrant applying for a Site Development Activity Permit, such as creating or developing on slopes, creating water impoundment, altering drainage (including drainage entering or exiting property), construction in a critical drainage area, or where drainage may contribute to existing drainage problems.  

To begin, see the Site Development Activity Brochure for more information.

We are here to help! If you have questions about when a Site Development Activity Permit application is needed, please make an appointment to meet with a Land Use Planner.

Clearing Trees On Your Property

A permit may be required depending on the specifics of your proposed tree-clearing project.
To learn if your tree removal project requires a permit, please visit the Timber Harvest/Tree Removal website page for tree removal permit application and issuance information. 

If there are critical areas on the property, please refer to the
Protect My Natural Environment page.

If the clearing limits of your proposed project exceed 5,000 board feet of timber, the property owner may be required to report the income tax to the Washington Department of Revenue. The load ticket provided by the logger will provide the revenue information. This information, when applicable, should be emailed to you with this income amount.


Clearing properties of less than two acres require a permit through DCD. If the property is two acres or greater in size, and the clearing is for the conversion of the land from forestry uses to any other uses (residence, roads, etc.), then you will need to make sure an application for both the WA Dept. of Natural Resources Forest Practice permit and the Kitsap County Conversion Option Harvest Plan (COHP) Timber Harvest Permit.

Without this "conversion" permit from the County, a six-year building moratorium would be automatically placed on the parcel from the date of the approved state permit.

The clearing is not allowed to take place prior to obtaining your approved permit - i.e., timber harvest, danger tree, or building site permit. Regardless of the type of permit, approval is required.

The type of review required will depend on what the clearing limits are proposed at (are they only those trees within a tree-length and half of the proposed structure?), and whether or not there is an approved Health site plan.

Clearing is best reviewed with the building permit application for several reasons, including erosion control and future stormwater management. Tree clearing prior to a building permit can be authorized through a Site Evaluation Permit for Danger Tree Harvest, but may still require special reports for any critical areas and an approved septic design to demonstrate that the clearing will be for the building site and any additional "danger trees" associated with the home.


Clearing over 5,000 board feet (approx. a log truck and a half) will require that you report any income from the harvest to the WA State Dept. of Revenue for tax purposes.  Stump removal is NOT permitted under the Site Evaluation Permit. There is no standard "1-acre" of clearing metric anymore, so how much can be cleared will depend on any critical area buffers, how you plan to manage stormwater, etc. Again though, this permit is not required if your clearing is reviewed and approved under your building permit.

Tree clearing on this parcel that is outside of the "danger-tree" limits (a tree-length and half from the habitable structure) or without an approved Health site plan may require a separate permit from the WA Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR). This 'conversion' of land from forestry to non-forestry use prior to the building permit would require a County Timber Harvest Conversion Permit, to be approved prior to obtaining your Forest Practice permit from DNR. Without this county permit, a 6-year building moratorium would be automatically be placed on the parcel.


We do not currently have a way on the County website to look up parcels for moratoriums. However, anyone can look to see if a parcel has a DNR logging permit here.  The permit will identify whether the owner planned to "convert." If they check "no," then DNR will likely require replanting, and the moratorium is automatically applied at the local level.  This is not added as a notice on a title but is still required for disclosure at the time of the property sale.


6-Year moratoriums are placed on any parcel of land with logging approved under the State Dept. of Natural Resources forest practice rules. These permits are approved for logging and unless the owner also applies for a County Timber Harvest Permit for conversion and marks their state permit as 'for conversion within three years,' an automatic development moratorium is placed on the land. The County permit would ensure that any local zoning or critical area vegetated buffers are met. Otherwise, the forest practice rules for these setbacks apply and are much smaller than those required under local rules for development. The state permit also requires reforestation of some kind if there is no County conversion Timber Harvest permit. 

If the property has a moratorium, there is no development activity permitted. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Building
  • Grading
  • Paving
  • Additional Clearing
  • Digging a well
  • Installing a septic system

You can:

  • Walk the property
  • Survey the property (as long as none of the above are required to do so)
  • Sell the property (disclosure of moratorium required)
Moratoriums can be lifted in rare instances. One case is if the state permit is still active. An after-the-fact County Timber Harvest Permit can be issued if 1) the logging has not yet occurred or 2) there are no critical areas or buffers that were impacted by the recent logging. Again, this is very case-specific and not guaranteed to be an option.  The other means for lifting a moratorium is found in KCC 18.16.180. The criteria by which the lift is approved are very narrow and strict. For example, the logging would have had to have been a case of theft, or the site is for a critical public facility.