Chapter 5.04


5.04.010    Purpose.

5.04.020    Definitions and presumption.

5.04.030    License required.

5.04.040    License – Application and issuance.

5.04.045    State marijuana license required for any marijuana business.

5.04.050    License – Nontransferable.

5.04.055    Standards of conduct.

5.04.060    License – Suspension, denial or revocation.

5.04.070    License – Multiple locations.

5.04.075    License – Multiple businesses at the same location.

5.04.080    Exempt activities.

5.04.090    Payment of license fees.

5.04.190    License – Fee additional to others.

5.04.200    License fee – Collection.

5.04.210    Over or underpayment of fees.

5.04.220    Appeal procedure.

5.04.230    License – Confidentiality of applications.

5.04.240    Duties of the director.

5.04.250    Repealed.

5.04.260    Violation – Penalty.

5.04.270    Successor liability.

5.04.280    Limitations on license.

5.04.010 Purpose.

The provisions of this chapter are an exercise of the police and taxation powers of the city to license for revenue purposes and to govern the privilege of engaging in business in the city. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.020 Definitions and presumption.

A. This chapter incorporates by reference all definitions set forth in Chapter 82.04 RCW, hereafter amended, except where a conflicting definition is stated in this chapter.

B. “Director” means the director of finance and administrative services for the city.

C. “Business Licensing Service” or “BLS” is the office within the Washington State Department of Revenue providing business licensing services to the city.

D. “Engaging in business” is defined as follows:

1. The term “engaging in business” means commencing, conducting, or continuing in business, and also the exercise of corporate or franchise powers, as well as liquidating a business when the liquidators thereof hold themselves out to the public as conducting such business.

2. This section sets forth examples of activities that constitute engaging in business in the city and establishes safe harbors for certain of those activities so that a person who meets the criteria may engage in de minimis business activities in the city without having to obtain a business license from the city. The activities listed in this section are illustrative only and are not intended to narrow the definition of “engaging in business” in subsection D.1 of this section. If an activity is not listed, whether it constitutes engaging in business in the city shall be determined by considering all the facts and circumstances and applicable law.

3. Without being all-inclusive, any one of the following activities conducted within the city by a person, or its employee, agent, representative, independent contractor, broker or another acting on its behalf, constitutes engaging in business and requires a person to register and obtain a business license:

a. Owning, renting, leasing, maintaining, or having the right to use, or using, tangible personal property, intangible personal property, or real property permanently or temporarily located in the city.

b. Owning, renting, leasing, using, or maintaining an office, place of business, or other establishment in the city.

c. Soliciting sales.

d. Making repairs or providing maintenance or service to real or tangible personal property, including warranty work and property maintenance.

e. Providing technical assistance or service, including quality control, product inspections, warranty work, or similar services on or in connection with tangible personal property sold by the person or on its behalf.

f. Installing, constructing, or supervising installation or construction of real or tangible personal property.

g. Soliciting, negotiating, or approving franchise, license, or other similar agreements.

h. Collecting current or delinquent accounts.

i. Picking up and transporting tangible personal property, solid waste, construction debris, or excavated materials.

j. Providing disinfecting and pest control services, employment and labor pool services, home nursing care, janitorial services, appraising, landscape architectural services, security system services, surveying, and real estate services, including the listing of homes and managing real property.

k. Rendering professional services such as those provided by accountants, architects, attorneys, auctioneers, consultants, engineers, professional athletes, barbers, baseball clubs and other sports organizations, chemists, psychologists, court reporters, dentists, doctors, detectives, laboratory operators, teachers, veterinarians.

l. Meeting with customers or potential customers, even when no sales or orders are solicited at the meetings.

m. Training or recruiting agents, representatives, independent contractors, brokers or others, domiciled or operating on a job in the city, acting on its behalf or for customers or potential customers.

n. Investigating, resolving, or otherwise assisting in resolving customer complaints.

o. In-store stocking or manipulating products or goods, sold to and owned by a customer, regardless of where sale and delivery of the goods took place.

p. Delivering goods in vehicles owned, rented, leased, used, or maintained by the person or another acting on its behalf.

4. If a person, or its employee, agent, representative, independent contractor, broker or another acting on the person’s behalf, engages in no other activities in or with the city but the following, it need not register and obtain a business license:

a. Meeting with suppliers of goods and services as a customer.

b. Meeting with government representatives in their official capacity, other than those performing contracting or purchasing functions.

c. Attending meetings, such as board meetings, retreats, seminars, and conferences, or other meetings wherein the person does not provide training in connection with tangible personal property sold by the person or on its behalf. This provision does not apply to any board of directors member or attendee engaging in business such as a member of a board of directors who attends a board meeting.

d. Renting tangible or intangible property as a customer when the property is not used in the city.

e. Attending, but not participating in, a trade show or multiple vendor events. Persons participating at a trade show shall review the city’s trade show or multiple vendor event ordinances.

f. Conducting advertising through the mail.

g. Soliciting sales by phone from a location outside the city.

5. A seller located outside the city merely delivering goods into the city by means of common carrier is not required to register and obtain a business license; provided, that it engages in no other business activities in the city. Such activities do not include those in subsection D.4 of this section.

The city expressly intends that engaging in business include any activity sufficient to establish nexus for purposes of applying the license fee under the law and the Constitutions of the United States and the state of Washington. Nexus is presumed to continue as long as the taxpayer benefits from the activity that constituted the original nexus-generating contact or subsequent contacts. (Ord. 2023-01 § 1, 2023; Ord. 2018-35 § 1, 2018: Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.030 License required.

Every person who engages in business activities within the city must obtain a city business license for the privilege of engaging in business within the city. The fee for the business license shall be in the amount established by resolution of the city council. No person shall engage in any business for which a business license is required under this chapter without being so licensed, except as otherwise provided in this title. (Ord. 2023-01 § 2, 2023; Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.040 License – Application and issuance.

A. Business licenses must be obtained and the fee paid before a business commences operation within the city. The license fee shall be considered delinquent if not paid when due.

B. The business license required by this chapter shall expire on the date established by the Business Licensing Service, and must be renewed on or before that expiration date.

C. Applications for business licenses must be submitted to the Business Licensing Service through the online license application or on a business license application form provided by BLS and must include all fees due, including the city license fee, the BLS handling fee required by RCW 19.02.075, and all fees for other licenses being requested on the application. The application information will be forwarded to the city for review. If the director finds that the application is complete and correct, that all required fees have been paid, and all laws and requirements have been complied with, the business license shall be approved for issuance through BLS.

D. The director shall, when appropriate, refer applications to the department of planning and community development, the department of public safety, the Bainbridge Island fire department, and other governmental agencies for their review.

E. Neither the filing of an application for a license, nor the renewal thereof, nor the payment of any application or renewal fee, shall authorize a person to engage in or conduct a business until such license has been granted or renewed. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.045 State marijuana license required for any marijuana business.

A. Marijuana businesses subject to the requirements of Chapter 314-55 WAC applying for a city of Bainbridge Island business license must have obtained a marijuana business license issued by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board pursuant to Chapter 314-55 WAC prior to approval of the city business license. For annual renewals of the city business license for operation of a marijuana business, the business must continue to hold a valid marijuana license issued by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board pursuant to Chapter 314-55 WAC to receive the city’s approval of the business’s city business license renewal application.

B. No person shall be deemed to have any entitlement or vested right to licensing under this chapter by virtue of having received any prior license or permit from the city, including, by way of example, any zoning permit, medical marijuana license, wholesale food manufacturer’s license, or any other license. In order to lawfully engage in the business of producing, processing or selling recreational marijuana in the city, a person must qualify for and obtain a license in accordance with this chapter and Chapter 314-55 WAC.

C. Prior to the city’s issuance of the business license herein, the applicant shall obtain other required permits related to the operation of the business, including, without limitation, any development approvals or building permits required by this code, the building code and the zoning code and by BIMC 18.09.030.K.

D. Upon receipt of a completed business license application, the city may circulate the application to all departments of the city to determine whether the application is in full compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. By way of illustration and not limitation, these departments may include the city of Bainbridge Island department of community development, the Bainbridge Island fire department, and the Bainbridge Island police department.

E. The city may, prior to issuance of the license, perform an inspection of the proposed licensed premises to determine compliance with any applicable requirements of this section or other provisions of the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 2015-09 § 1, 2015)

5.04.050 License – Nontransferable.

The business license issued under this chapter shall be personal and nontransferable, and shall at all times be posted in the place of business for which it is issued. Where a licensee’s place of business is changed, the licensee must notify the Business Licensing Service regarding issuance of a new license for the new place of business. A change of business location may require submission of a new business license application and payment of the respective fees. The city will be informed of the change of location and will review the new location before issuance of a new license. No licensee shall allow another person to operate a business under, or display, the license, nor shall another person operate under or display the license. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.055 Standards of conduct.

Every licensee under this chapter shall:

A. Permit reasonable inspections of the business premises by governmental authorities for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this chapter;

B. Comply with all federal, state and city statutes, laws, ordinances and regulations relating to the business premises and the conduct of the business thereon;

C. Refrain from unfair or deceptive acts or practices, or consumer fraud, in the conduct of the business and avoid maintaining a public nuisance on the business premises;

D. Refrain from operating the business after expiration of a license or during the period that the license may be suspended or revoked. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.060 License – Suspension, denial or revocation.

A. A business license may be suspended, denied or revoked by the city without notice for any of the following causes:

1. The licensee or any of its officers, directors, agents or employees while acting within the scope of their duties has violated or failed to keep the building, structure or equipment of the licensed premises in compliance with applicable health, building, fire or safety laws, ordinances or regulations;

2. The licensee or any of its officers, directors, agents or employees while acting within the scope of their duties has violated or failed to comply with the standards of conduct specified in this chapter;

3. The license was procured by fraud or false representation of fact;

4. The licensee or any of its officers, directors, agents or employees has been convicted of a crime involving the business;

5. The license was issued through mistake or inadvertence.

B. A business license may be revoked on 20 days’ written notice to the licensee where the licensee fails to pay the annual license fee and/or applicable business and occupation tax, together with any penalties due thereon, within six months after the fee or tax is due and owing. After revocation, reinstatement of the business license requires submitting a new application through the Business Licensing Service, and also requires payment of all past amounts due and owing.

C. Upon suspension, denial or revocation of a license, the director shall, by certified mail, give written notice of such action to the applicant or licensee, including a written report summarizing the complaints, objections, and/or information received and considered by the director and further stating the reason for the action. Notice mailed to the mailing address on the application or most recent renewal shall be deemed received three days after mailing. Appeal of the director’s decision shall follow the appeal procedures set forth in this chapter. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 2004-17 § 3, 2004: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.070 License – Multiple locations.

If business is transacted by one person at two or more separate locations within the city, a separate license shall be obtained and displayed in each location at which business is transacted. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.075 License – Multiple businesses at the same location.

A. Multiple business activities under common ownership and conducted at the same physical location may be conducted under a single license.

B. Except as provided in subsection A of this section, if more than one business is operated at the same location, each person operating a separate business must obtain and display their own license for their respective business at that location. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018)

5.04.080 Exempt activities.

The following activities shall be exempt from the licensing provisions of this chapter:

A. The exercise of governmental functions performed by any instrumentality of the United States, the state of Washington, or any political subdivision thereof;

B. Farmers or gardeners selling their own farm products raised and grown exclusively upon lands owned or occupied by them;

C. Garage sales conducted on residential premises in compliance with this code;

D. The mere delivery of goods or services to the customer or client by businesses where the sale occurred on business premises outside of the city, and was the only event occurring within the city except that the performance of contracting or subcontracting services is not an exempt activity; or

E. Any business activity by any person or business whose annual value of products, gross proceeds of sales, or gross annual income of the business within the city is $3,000 or less. (Ord. 2023-01 § 3, 2023; Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 2013-03 § 1, 2013: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.090 Payment of license fees.

A. There shall be a license fee imposed for the privilege of doing business as set by resolution of the city council.

B. Payment of the fee imposed by this chapter shall be due on or before the commencement of business and for renewal of the license on or before the expiration date of the license.

C. On or before the due date, every person required to pay a license fee or a tax as set forth by this chapter shall file a license renewal with the Business Licensing Service, or, for taxes, a written return with the city upon such form and including such information as the director shall require, together with the payment of the amount of the tax.

D. Nonprofit activities carried on by religious, charitable, educational, benevolent, fraternal or social organizations which have been determined by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States to be exempt from the payment of income tax shall be exempt from the license fee. (Ord. 2023-01 § 4, 2023; Ord. 2018-35 § 2, 2018: Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 2013-03 § 2, 2013: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.190 License – Fee additional to others.

The license imposed and levied by this chapter shall be in addition to any license fee or tax imposed or levied under any law or other ordinance of the city, except as otherwise expressly provided. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.200 License fee – Collection.

The license fee imposed by this chapter, and all penalties assessed thereon by the city, shall constitute a debt to the city, and may be collected by court proceedings in the same manner as any other debt in like amount, which remedy shall be in addition to all other existing remedies. Any judgment entered in favor of the city shall include an award to the city of all court and collection costs including attorneys’ fees. Amounts delinquent more than 90 days may be assigned to a third party for collection, in which case the amount of any collection charges shall be in addition to all other amounts owed. Amounts due shall not be considered paid until the city has received good funds for the full amount due or has discharged the amount due and not paid. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.210 Over or underpayment of fees.

In the event that any person makes an overpayment, and within two years of the date of such overpayment makes application to the city for a refund or credit, the person’s claim shall be allowed and a refund made by the city upon determination by the director that no other sums are owed by the person to the city. If a person determines that the fees have been underpaid and without notice by any party pays the amount due to the city, the amount underpaid and corrected by the person shall not be subject to a city penalty. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.220 Appeal procedure.

A person who has had a license suspended, denied or revoked or who has been aggrieved by the amount of the license fee determined to be due to the city by the director under the provisions of this chapter may appeal to the city council from such determination by filing a written notice of appeal with the city clerk within 20 days from the date on which such person is given notice of the license fee. The city council or a committee of the city council shall, as soon as practicable, fix a time and place for the hearing for such appeal. Notice of the hearing shall be given to the appellant by certified mail at least five days prior to the date of the hearing. The licensee may appear at the hearing and be heard in opposition to such denial, suspension or revocation or to the fee imposed. The decision of the city council or its committee shall be announced at the conclusion of the hearing and shall be final, subject only to a writ of certiorari being filed with the Kitsap County superior court within 14 days following the date of the decision of the city council or a committee of the city council. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.230 License – Confidentiality of applications.

The applications made to the city pursuant to this chapter are subject to confidentiality governed by RCW 19.02.115, and shall not be made public, or be subject to inspection except as allowed or required by law. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.240 Duties of the director.

A. The director shall keep full and accurate records of all funds received under the provisions of this chapter. Upon receipt of any license fee or penalties collected under the provisions of this chapter, the director shall deposit the amounts collected into the current expense fund of the city.

B. In order to carry out the provisions of this chapter, the director shall have the power to adopt, publish and enforce rules and regulations consistent with this chapter. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.250 Civil penalty.

Repealed by Ord. 2018-21. (Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.260 Violation – Penalty.

A. It shall be a violation of this chapter:

1. For a person required to obtain a business license under this chapter to fail or refuse to secure the business license or to fail to pay the fee imposed;

2. For a person to make any false representation in connection with application for a business license under this chapter;

3. For a person to evade payment of the fee or any part thereof;

4. For a person to fail to appear and/or refuse to testify in response to a subpoena issued hereto;

5. For a person to testify falsely upon any investigation of the correctness of a return, or upon the heading of any appeal; or

6. For a person to in any manner hinder or delay the city or any of its officers in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct business within the city limits when not in compliance with this chapter.

C. A person violating any of the provisions of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00 or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each such person is guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during the portion of which any violation of any provision of this chapter is committed, continued or permitted by any such person and he is punishable accordingly. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.270 Successor liability.

A. Whenever any person required to be licensed by this chapter quits business, or sells out, exchanges or otherwise disposes of his/her business or stock of goods, any outstanding license fees or penalty payable to the city shall immediately become due and payable, and such person shall, within 30 days, file the required forms and pay the fees due. Any person who becomes a successor to such person shall become liable for the full amount of the prior owner’s license fees and penalties due and owing and shall withhold from the purchase price a sum sufficient to pay any amount due from the seller until such time as the seller shall produce a receipt from the city clerk showing payment in full of any amount due or a certificate that no license fees are due. The payment of the fees by the successor shall, to the extent thereof, be deemed a payment upon the purchase price, and if such payment is greater than the purchase price, the amount of the difference shall become a debt due such successor from the seller. The successor’s liability shall be limited to the purchase price or the fair market value of the business if no cash transaction took place.

B. No successor shall be liable for any license fees due from the person from whom he/she has acquired a business or stock of goods if he/she gives written notice to the city clerk or director of such acquisition, and no assessment is issued by the director within six months of receipt of such notice against the former operation of the business and a copy of the assessment mailed to the successor. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)

5.04.280 Limitations on license.

Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary, a license issued under this chapter shall not be issued to any person who uses or occupies or proposes to use or occupy any real property or otherwise conducts or proposes to conduct any business in violation of the provisions of an ordinance of the city of Bainbridge Island, specifically including the city’s zoning laws, or of the laws of the state of Washington. The granting of a business license shall in no way be construed as permission or acquiescence in a prohibited activity or other violation. Because the issuance of a license under this chapter specifically denies the applicant authority to violate any law or regulation, the city shall not be held liable for the actions of any licensed business by virtue of having issued a license to conduct business. (Ord. 2018-21 § 1, 2018: Ord. 99-28 § 1, 1999)


Code reviser’s note: § 24 of Ord. 92-10 provided for the levy and collection of taxes for the year 1992 only. Specific provisions of that section are on file in the city clerk’s office.

Prior legislation: Ords. 92-04, 89-61, 88-16, 86-03, 84-32, 82-22, and 82-01, all repealed by 92-10, and further amended by Ords. 93-21, 94-31 and 97-01.