Chapter 5.16


5.16.010    Definitions.

5.16.020    License – Required.

5.16.030    License – Application – Requirements.

5.16.040    License – Period of issuance – Restrictions.

5.16.050    License – Issuance to minors unlawful.

5.16.060    License – Fees.

5.16.070    License – Revocation.

5.16.080    License – Consent to cancellation.

5.16.090    License – Transferability.

5.16.100    Posting of license.

5.16.110    Morality restrictions.

5.16.120    Age restriction.

5.16.130    Intoxication prohibited.

5.16.140    Lighting requirements.

5.16.150    Hours of closing.

5.16.160    Access by police.

5.16.170    Regulations and amendments – Denial of license.

5.16.180    Violation – Penalties.

5.16.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the words set out in this section shall have the following meanings:

A. “Dancehall” means any room, hall, pavilion, boat, property, building or other structure kept for the purpose of conducting therein public dances or dancing.

B. “Person,” as used in this relation, means and includes natural persons of either sex, copartnerships, corporations, or associations, and words of the masculine gender shall be held to include feminine; singular shall include plural.

C. “Public dance” means any dance or ball at which the public generally may gain admission, with or without the payment of an admission fee. (Prior code 4.04.010).

5.16.020 License – Required.

It is unlawful for any person to hold any public dance or conduct or maintain any dancehall without the limits of incorporated cities or towns in Whatcom County without having first procured from the Whatcom County sheriff a license authorizing the holding of said public dance or the conducting or maintaining of said dancehall. (Ord. 93-048 (part); prior code § 4.04.020).

5.16.030 License – Application – Requirements.

Any person desiring a license under the provisions of this chapter shall make written application thereof at least five days before the holding of any dance or the conducting or maintaining of any dancehall to the Whatcom County sheriff, signed by the applicant, stating therein and submitting such proof as may be required by the sheriff, that he or she has never been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, that he or she is a citizen of the United States of America, and has been a resident of Whatcom County for a period of not less than three years immediately last past, and any Grange, patriotic, fraternal or community dance application shall include the further statement whether or not beer or liquor are sold or offered for sale on said premises. (Ord. 93-048 (part); prior code § 4.04.060).

5.16.040 License – Period of issuance – Restrictions.

A. Licenses for dancehalls shall be issued by the year, by the quarter or by the single dance, as requested by applicant. A license for a single public dance shall entitle the holder thereof to conduct such a dance only on the day and at the place specified in the license.

B. No license to conduct a public dance or dancehall shall be granted to any person, unless applicant therefor be of good moral character. No license shall be granted to any corporation, but if any dance is conducted by a corporation, the license shall be issued to the manager or other directing head thereof. (Prior code § 4.04.030).

5.16.050 License – Issuance to minors unlawful.

No license shall be granted to any person under the age of 21 years. (Prior code § 4.04.040).

5.16.060 License – Fees.

The fees to be charged for licenses granted as provided for in this chapter shall be set forth in the Whatcom County Unified Fee Schedule (fees shall apply whether mechanical or other music is engaged in the conduct of any dance). (Ord. 93-080 Exh. G; prior code § 4.04.050).

5.16.070 License – Revocation.

Any license granted hereafter to conduct a dancehall may be revoked by the Whatcom County council after a hearing held, upon not less than 10 days written notice to the licensee, and the action of the council in revoking such license shall be final and conclusive. (Ord. 93-048 (part); prior code § 4.04.140).

5.16.080 License – Consent to cancellation.

Every licensee accepting a license under this chapter shall be deemed to have consented to all the provisions of this chapter with respect to cancellation of license. (Prior code § 4.04.150).

5.16.090 License – Transferability.

No license granted under this chapter shall be transferable except by formal order of the Whatcom County sheriff, nor shall any dancehall or public dance be conducted at any place other than specified in the license therefor. (Ord. 93-048 (part); prior code § 4.04.160).

5.16.100 Posting of license.

All licenses issued hereafter shall be kept posted by the licensee in a conspicuous place on the licensed floor. (Prior code § 4.04.130).

5.16.110 Morality restrictions.

No immoral, indecent, suggestive or obscene dances shall be given or carried on in any dancehall or at any dance licensed under this chapter, and no boisterous, obscene or indecent language shall be permitted in or around any dancehall. (Prior code § 4.04.070).

5.16.120 Age restriction.

No person under the age of 18 years shall be permitted to attend any public dance without the escort of his or her parent or guardian. Any person under the age of 18 years who shall by affirmative misrepresentation of age obtain admission to or permission to remain in any public dance, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (Prior code § 4.04.110).

5.16.130 Intoxication prohibited.

No intoxicated person shall be allowed in or around any public dance or dancehall; the licensee is charged with the responsibility of keeping persons who show the effect of intoxicating liquor from frequenting said dances or dancehalls. (Prior code § 4.04.090).

5.16.140 Lighting requirements.

All buildings, halls, rooms, pavilions or other places in which public dances are carried on, as well as all halls, corridors and rooms leading thereto and connected therewith, shall at all times, while open to the public, be well lighted. (Prior code § 4.04.080).

5.16.150 Hours of closing.

No public dance shall be conducted, nor dancehall be kept open, between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. unless special permit be obtained from the Whatcom County sheriff. (Ord. 93-048 (part); prior code § 4.04.100).

5.16.160 Access by police.

All police officers of the state of Washington shall have free access to public dances and dancehalls for the purpose of inspection and to enforce compliance with the provisions of this chapter. (Prior code § 4.04.170).

5.16.170 Regulations and amendments – Denial of license.

The Whatcom County sheriff shall have authority to make any and all reasonable regulations not set forth in this chapter and any and all reasonable amendments to this chapter, and may at its discretion refuse to grant licenses for dancehalls to be located at such places, or to be conducted at such times as in their judgment interfere with the comfort and happiness of the community in which such proposed dancehall is to be located. (Ord. 93-048 (part); prior code § 4.04.120).

5.16.180 Violation – Penalties.

Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine in any sum not exceeding $250.00, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 90 days, or both such fine and imprisonment. (Prior code § 4.04.180).