Chapter 5.01


5.01.010    Short title.

5.01.020    Purpose.

5.01.030    Scope.

5.01.040    Business license – Required.

5.01.050    Separate general business license required.

5.01.060    License fees – Payment.

5.01.070    Duration of license.

5.01.080    License renewal – Filing date.

5.01.090    Late charge.

5.01.100    Refund request.

5.01.110    General business license – Application.

5.01.120    License issuance and renewal – Appeal from denial.

5.01.130    Denial, suspension, or revocation of licenses.

5.01.140    Appeal.

5.01.150    Display of licenses – Transferability.

5.01.160    Notice of right to suspend or revoke.

5.01.170    Licenses subject to specific controls.

5.01.180    Exemptions.

5.01.190    Separate offenses.

5.01.200    Penalty for violations – Principal offender.

5.01.210    Effect on pending or past prosecutions.

5.01.010 Short title.

This chapter shall be known as “the business license code” of the city of Mercer Island and may be cited as such. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.020 Purpose.

The provisions of this chapter shall be an exercise of the power of the city to license for the purpose of revenue and regulation. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.030 Scope.

All persons who engage in business activities or occupations within city of Mercer Island as set forth in MICC 4.10.030 shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter, unless a specific business license is required to be obtained under the provisions of another chapter of the city code or unless specifically exempted from licensing herein. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.040 Business license – Required.

It is unlawful for any person to conduct, operate, engage in or practice any business in the city without having first obtained and being the holder of a valid and subsisting license to do so, to be known as a “business license,” and paying the fees prescribed herein; provided that, persons under the age of 18 years shall not be required to have a business license. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.050 Separate general business license required.

A separate license shall be obtained for each branch, establishment or location at which the business-related activity is carried on, and each license shall authorize the licensee to carry on or pursue, or conduct only that business, or business-related activity at that location. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.060 License fees – Payment.

A. There is levied to be collected from those persons engaging in business in the city annual license fees in such amounts as are established by city council resolution for the following types of licenses:

1. Original License or Renewal License.

a. Home occupation (business conducted within a home);

b. Resident commercial business (business conducted from place of business located in the nonresidential zone);

c. Nonresident commercial business (business conducted from place of business located outside city of Mercer Island);

d. Temporary business (original only – for period of less than one month).

2. Master Exhibitor’s License. This license is available for persons who sponsor carnivals, exhibitions or like events where such events do not extend beyond seven days and no more often than twice a year and where multiple individuals are participating. In such cases the master exhibitor must provide to the city a complete and accurate list of participants with names and addresses of those participating. If participants also do business in the city other than during the events covered by the master exhibitor’s license, such participants are required to have a separate business license.

B. Such annual license fee shall become due and payable on the first day of each calendar year as to any business required to have a business license under this chapter and in existence on said date. As to any business commenced during the year, the annual license fee shall be due and payable on the first day that business is transacted or carried on. The business license fee shall not be prorated for any part of the year.

C. Payment made by draft or check shall not be deemed a payment of the fee unless and until the same has been honored in the usual course of business, nor shall acceptance of any such check or draft operate as an acquittance or discharge of the fee unless and until the same is honored. (Ord. 05C-14 § 1; Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.070 Duration of license.

All licenses issued pursuant to the provision of this chapter shall expire on December 31 of the year for which they were issued, unless sooner suspended or revoked in the manner provided in this chapter. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.080 License renewal – Filing date.

Applications for renewal of a license shall be made on or before the expiration date provided for herein. All licenses issued subsequent to the original license shall be deemed renewal licenses if there has been no discontinuance of the licensee’s operations or activities. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.090 Late charge.

There shall be assessed by the clerk an additional charge on applications not filed on or before said expiration date as follows:

Days Past Due

Percent of License Fee

16 to 30


31 to 60


61 or more


(Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.100 Refund request.

If pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the applicant’s request for a license is denied, either upon original application or renewal, 100 percent of the fee tendered shall be refunded to the applicant no later than 90 days following such denial; provided, that no refund shall be made where during the pendency of the original application the applicant has engaged in the business activity for which the license was intended, and in that case such amount shall be forfeited to the city. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.110 General business license – Application.

A. An application for a business license shall be made to the city clerk.

B. The application shall be on a form prescribed by the city clerk and shall include:

1. The name of the applicant;

2. His/her residence;

3. The address of the principal place of business of the applicant;

4. The nature and/or type of business to be conducted;

5. The applicant’s state employer number, if applicable:

6. The applicant’s state sales tax number, if applicable;

7. The number of current employees;

8. A statement, executed under the penalty of perjury, that the facts stated in the application are true and correct to the best of the applicant’s knowledge. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.120 License issuance and renewal – Appeal from denial.

A. The city clerk shall issue a business license to the applicant within 10 working days, if the information supplied to the city clerk is complete and the required license fee is paid; otherwise the license application shall be denied. Upon denial of the application, written notice shall be sent to the applicant as set forth in MICC 5.01.140.

B. Any applicant whose application has been denied may file an appeal and request a hearing as set forth in MICC 5.01.140. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.130 Denial, suspension, or revocation of licenses.

A. Revocation by City Clerk. The city clerk shall have the right to revoke or suspend any license at any time on the following grounds:

1. That the license was procured by fraud or false representation of facts;

2. That the applicant or licensee or any of his servants, agents or employees, while acting within the scope of their employment, has violated or failed to comply with any of the ordinances of the city; provided, that this section shall not apply to traffic violations or to violations of ordinances when said violations are corrected within a period of 30 days from the date of the violation or when said violations are deemed not significant by the city clerk;

3. That the licensee or any of his servants, agents or employees has been convicted of either a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, or involving fraud or an attempt to defraud while acting within the scope of their employment; or

4. Conviction of a violation of any provision of this title shall be prima facie evidence to warrant or suspension or revocation of the license.

The city clerk, upon finding that one or more of the above cited conditions exist, shall suspend the business license for a period of 30 days in case of a first violation and revoke the business license in cases involving a second violation. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.140 Appeal.

A. Notice of Denial, Suspension or Revocation. The city clerk shall notify the applicant or licensee in writing of the denial, suspension or revocation of the business license.

The notice shall contain:

1. A statement by the city clerk setting forth the grounds for such action;

2. A statement of any action required to be taken as determined by the city clerk;

3. Statements advising:

a. That the applicant or licensee may appeal from the notice of any action taken by the city clerk to the city council, provided the appeal is made in writing, specifically sets forth the grounds for appeal and is filed with the city clerk within 10 days, excluding legal holidays, from the date of service of such notice, and

b. That failure to appeal will constitute a waiver of all rights to an administrative hearing and determination of the matter.

4. The notice shall be served upon the applicant or licensee either personally or by mailing a copy of such notice by certified or registered mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, to such applicant or licensee at his address as it appears on the application or license. Service by mail in the manner herein provided shall be effective on the date of mailing.

B. Filing of Appeal. Within 10 days, excluding legal holidays, from the date of service of the foregoing notice, the applicant may file an appeal for a hearing before the city council and shall specify an address at which the appellant may be given notice of the hearing date. The notice of appeal must be in writing and be filed with the city clerk.

Upon receipt of such notice of appeal, the applicant or licensee shall be afforded a public hearing on appeal before the city council at the second regular council meeting after the filing of notice of appeal, unless the city council orders the hearing to be held at some earlier date. A regular meeting falling on the date of filing shall be counted in computing the hearing date.

C. Hearing – Notice to Appellant. Upon the setting of such matter for hearing, the city clerk shall notify the appellant at least 10 days before the date fixed for the hearing, unless appellant waives notice in writing. The notice of such hearing shall be delivered to the address specified by the appellant pursuant to this section and in the manner specified in subsection (A)(4) of this section. The notice shall include:

1. A statement of the time, place and nature of the proceeding;

2. A short and plain statement of the matters under appeal;

3. Advice that the appellant may elect to appear pro se before the city council or be represented by legal counsel; and

4. That the appellant may elect to testify orally before the city council or furnish a written statement.

D. Hearing – Procedure. The hearing on appeal shall be conducted as provided in MICC 2.30.060.

E. City Council – Final Decision. The city council shall within 30 days after the conclusion of such hearing, reduce to writing its findings and conclusions. A copy of such written findings shall be furnished to the appellant at his request. The city council may affirm, modify, or reverse the denial, suspension or revocation and grant or reinstate the license, and may impose any terms or conditions upon the granting, continuance or retention of the business license which the city council may deem advisable under the circumstances. Such decision of the city council shall be final. Proceedings to review the decision of the city council in superior court must be instituted within 15 days of final action of the city council.

F. Effective Date of Denial, Suspension or Revocation. No denial, suspension or revocation of a license shall take effect until 10 days have passed after service of the notice thereof on the applicant or licensee, and if an appeal is taken as herein prescribed, the denial, suspension or revocation shall be stayed pending final action by the city council.

G. Effect of Denial, Suspension or Revocation. All licenses which are denied, suspended or revoked shall be immediately surrendered to the city clerk on the effective date of such denial, suspension or revocation. When revoked, the business license shall be canceled, and when suspended the city clerk shall retain the same during the period of suspension. Revocation or suspension of a business license shall not relieve the licensee of the other penalties provided in this chapter.

H. Revocation – Return of License Fee. Upon revocation of a business license, no portion of the license fee shall be returned to the licensee. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.150 Display of licenses – Transferability.

A. Licenses – To Be Posted – Exception. All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter authorizing the maintenance or conducting of any occupation, business, trade or entertainment at a specified location, shall be posted in a conspicuous place at such location, and such license shall not be tampered with in any manner; provided however, that when the licensee has no established place of business and goes from place to place or from house to house, then such license must be carried on the person of such licensee while actually engaged in the licensed occupation, business or trade.

B. License – Unlawful Use.

1. It is unlawful for any person to use, or permit to be used, any license, except those issued by the city clerk in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.

2. It is unlawful for any person to make, or manufacture, any licenses, except upon order of the city clerk.

C. Licenses – Not Transferable. No license issued under provisions of this chapter shall be transferable or assignable, unless specifically provided otherwise. All licenses issued by the city clerk are and remain the property of the city and if found in the possession of any person other than the licensee or his servants, agents or employees, such license shall be forthwith confiscated by officials of the city. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.160 Notice of right to suspend or revoke.

Every license issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall state thereon in substance that such license is issued in consideration of the fee paid therefor and that the same is subject to suspension or revocation in the manner provided in this chapter. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.170 Licenses subject to specific controls.

The issuance of a license pursuant to the terms of this chapter and all activities of any licensee granted a license hereunder shall at all times be subject to all ordinances and regulations of the city enacted in the exercise of its police power, and the prohibition or regulation of any specific activity or sale of commodity by specific ordinance shall prevail over the terms and conditions of this chapter wherever they may conflict. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.180 Exemptions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to:

A. National banks, state banks, trust companies, mutual savings banks, building and loan associations with respect to their banking business, trust business or savings and loan business but not with respect to engaging in any other business subject to the provisions of this chapter;

B. Any instrumentality of the United States, state of Washington, or political subdivision thereof with respect to the exercise of governmental functions;

C. Any farmer, gardener, or other person who shall sell, deliver, or peddle any fruits, vegetables, berries, butter, eggs, fish, milk, poultry, meats, or any farm produce or edibles raised, caught, produced or manufactured by such person in this state. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.190 Separate offenses.

Each day that any person, firm, corporation or association shall operate any device, vehicle or thing, or engage in any business, calling, profession, trade, occupation or activity licensed herein without having procured a valid existing license as provided for by this chapter shall constitute a separate offense and be punished as such. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.200 Penalty for violations – Principal offender.

A. Violations – Penalty. Any person violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine in a sum not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 90 days or both such fine and imprisonment.

B. Principal Offender Defined. Every person concerned in any act or omission in violation of this chapter, or who aids or abets the same, whether present or absent, and every person who directly or indirectly counsels, encourages, hires, commands, induces or otherwise procures another to commit such violation is, and shall be a principal under the terms of this title and shall be proceeded against and prosecuted as such. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).

5.01.210 Effect on pending or past prosecutions.

No prosecution now pending and no offense heretofore committed under any ordinance heretofore enacted shall be affected in any way by the passage of this chapter, but all such prosecutions shall be conducted to final judgment and all such offenses shall be prosecuted in the same manner as if this chapter had not been enacted. (Ord. A-21 § 1, 1983).