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IMG_0686.JPG      Ebey's Landing National 
      Historical Reserve

History of Ebey's Landing


The Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve encompasses a large area on Whidbey island, including all of the Town of Coupeville and much of the surrounding forested area and farmland near Penn Cove. The reserve was established in 1978 to protect and preserve the rich historical legacy of the area. This history includes the permanent Skagit villages that existed on Penn Cove, Captain George Vancouver's exploration of Whidbey Island, the settlement of the Ebey Family near Coupeville, and the military installations at Fort Casey and Fort Ebey.

In order to protect this place of national significance, most development within the Reserve is reviewed for concurrency with a set of Design Guidelines, which is a vital tool for preserving this heritage.


Ebey's Landing and My Development

​Step 1Locate Your Project

Use Island County's ICGeoMap tool to see if your project is within the Reserve, and whether it is in Design Review Area 1 or 2.

  • Click Here to access IC Geo Map.
  • Once you pull up the map, you can type your parcel number or address into the search bar.
  •  In the layers tab, turn on "Site Review" and click the plus sign to expand.
  • Under "Site Review" turn on "Ebey's Design Review Areas" and "Ebey's Contributing Structures."

Identify whether your parcel is within Design Review Area 1 or 2, and whether the project will be within 100 feet of a contributing historic structure, since these may affect how your development will be reviewed.

​Step 2
​Process and Exemptions

Depending on the scale and/or type of your project, it may be exempt from review under the design guidelines (note that most projects are not exempt from a review process).

  • Check to see if your project is exempt under Island County Code 17.04A.090.
  • If your project is not exempt, it will need a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). Check Island County Code sections 17.04A.100, 17.04A.110, and 17.04A.120 to see if the project will need a level A, B, or C COA. Contact Island County Planning if you can't determine which level applies to your project.

A Level A COA is a ministerial decision that is processed quickly; these can often be completed over the counter at the Planning and Community Development office.

A Level B COA includes a 14-day public comment period and a review by the Historic Reserve Committee.

A Level C COA includes a 14-day public comment period, a review by the Historic Reserve Committee, and a public meeting, followed by a recommendation or a decision from the Historical Preservation Commission.

​Step 3
Review Design Guidelines

Whether or not your project requires a Certificate of Appropriateness, it is important to review it for concurrency with the design guidelines. These contain helpful standards for repair, maintenance, new construction, additions, and alterations to buildings, as well as standards for site design, sustainability, and subdivisions.

Click Here to access the Design Guidelines

Step 4
​Applying for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)

You can apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness with Island County. Fees vary based on the level of the COA.

Level A Applications; please provide original signed application and 1 copy

Level B Applications; please provide original plus 3 copies

Level C Applications; please provide original plus 11 color copies


Staff Contact

Camano Annex Main Phone
(360)-387-3443