Chapter 17.12


17.12.010    Purpose.

17.12.020    Definitions.

17.12.030    Home occupation license required.

17.12.040    Fees designated.

17.12.050    Performance criteria.

17.12.060    Procedure for home occupation business license applications.

17.12.070    Home occupation business license time limit – Nontransferability.

17.12.080    Home occupation business license renewal.

17.12.090    Inspection.

17.12.095    Enforcement.

17.12.100    Home occupation business license revocation.

17.12.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to:

A. Protect residential areas from adverse impacts of activities associated with home occupations;

B. Permit residents of the community a broad choice in the use of their homes as a place of livelihood and the production or supplementing of personal and family income;

C. Establish criteria and development standards for home occupations conducted in dwelling units and certain accessory buildings in residential zones. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017: Ord. 390 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2012: Ord. 20.M § 8.1, 1991)

17.12.020 Definitions.

“Employee” means:

A. In a sole proprietorship, any individual hired by the proprietor to work for and in the business in any capacity;

B. In a partnership, any individual engaged in the conduct of the business, except one partner;

C. In a corporation, all persons engaged in the course of business, including corporate officers and those hired by the corporation as workers of any kind.

D. For purposes of this chapter, the definition of “employee” does not include a resident provider, resident entity representative, resident manager, or resident caregiver of an adult family home, group home, or family daycare provider.

“Home occupation” means an occupation or business activity which:

A. Results in a product or service that is conducted in whole or in part in the dwelling unit (including a garage or workshop in the dwelling unit) or in a detached garage or workshop on the same lot as the dwelling unit; and

B. Is clearly subordinate to the residential use of the dwelling unit.

A home occupation does not include garage sales, yard sales, bake sales and similar activities, as long as they do not occur more than three times a year on the lot that contains the dwelling unit. A home occupation also does not include short term rentals, as defined in BMC 17.04.040. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 457 § 2, 2018: Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017: Ord. 390 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2012: Ord. 20.M § 8.2, 1991)

17.12.030 Home occupation license required.

All home occupations must have a home occupation business license, which must be issued and renewed annually in accordance with this chapter and Chapter 5.04 BMC, to the extent Chapter 5.04 BMC is consistent with this chapter. All applications for a business license and all applications for business license renewal must be submitted through the Business Licensing Service as prescribed in Chapter 5.04 BMC, but will be reviewed and approved by the city clerk in accordance with this chapter. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017: Ord. 390 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2012: Ord. 20.W § 5, 2001: Ord. 20.M § 8.3, 1991)

17.12.040 Fees designated.

The home occupation business license fees, and renewal business license fees, shall be established by the city council pursuant to Chapter 3.04 BMC as amended from time to time. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017: Ord. 390 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2012)

17.12.050 Performance criteria.

A. Home occupations shall be permitted in single-family residential zoning districts, provided they meet all of the following criteria:

1. The floor area devoted to a home occupation shall not exceed twenty-five percent of the living area of the dwelling unit or one thousand two hundred fifty square feet, whichever is less. The living area shall not include entry areas, hallways, attached or detached garages and workshops and laundry rooms. For family daycare providers, adult family homes, and group homes, the “floor area” for the home occupation shall include only the floor area used for performing the paperwork for the operation.

2. The home occupation shall be clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the property for residential purposes.

3. The home occupation must be carried on by permanent occupant(s) of the dwelling unit with not more than three nonresident persons being employed on a full-time basis or the equivalent of full-time hours. Persons engaged in building trades or similar fields using the dwelling unit as an office for business activities carried out off the premises may have more employees if such employees do not work on the premises.

4. There shall not be conducted on the premises the business of selling stocks of merchandise, supplies or products, except that retail sales may be made in conjunction with other permitted home occupations.

For example, a hair stylist would be allowed to sell combs, shampoo and other miscellaneous items to clients. However, a dressmaker, for example, would be required to do custom work for specific clients and would not be allowed to develop stocks of dresses on site for sale to the general public.

5. There shall be no exterior evidence of the home occupation, and the structure in which the home occupation is located shall be residential in character, except for outdoor play areas required for family daycare providers per Chapter 170-296A WAC. Structural modifications or additions shall require planning commission and city council approval.

6. The home occupation and activities associated with such home occupation shall be visually buffered from adjacent land uses. Fencing and/or landscaping may be required by the director or city council, as applicable, to mitigate the impacts of the home occupation on adjacent land uses.

7. There shall be no externally visible storage of business materials, except nursery plants and items incidental to outdoor play areas for family daycare providers per Chapter 170-296A WAC.

8. Electrical or mechanical equipment or processes that create visible or audible interference in radio or television receivers or fluctuations in line voltage outside the dwelling unit or outside a detached garage or workshop that contains the home occupation, or which create a hazard or nuisance such as noise, vibration, dust, heat, odors, glare, fumes or fire hazards, shall be prohibited.

9. The home occupation shall not generate significantly greater traffic volume than would normally be associated with residential use and shall not create a nuisance to the neighborhood. Deliveries from commercial suppliers to the property shall not exceed an average of two trips per week over a one-month period. For family daycare providers, no more than two additional trips per day per child who does not reside at the dwelling unit shall be permitted. Drop-off and pick-up times shall be staggered to the maximum extent practicable to minimize the impact to adjacent streets and properties.

10. A minimum of one improved off-street parking space shall be provided for employees and customers. No more than the maximum number of stalls shall be allowed per BMC 17.48.040. Parking shall meet the minimum stall and aisle specifications of BMC 17.48.045(B)(3).

11. No internal or external alterations involving a change in the fire rating of the structure shall be permitted.

12. The hours of operation for any home occupation shall be within the following time periods: seven a.m. to eight p.m., Mondays through Fridays and nine a.m. to six p.m., Saturdays. Family daycare providers may commence operation as early as six a.m.; however, no outdoor play shall be permitted before seven a.m. Adult education classes shall be required to terminate by nine-thirty p.m. Home occupations that are not detectable (for example, that involve writing only) are exempt from the foregoing hour limitations.

13. Adult education classes shall be held no more frequently than fifteen times per month in order to be considered a home occupation. Classes that meet more frequently than three times in any seven-day period shall be subject to conditional use permit requirements as described in BMC 17.36.050.

14. The home occupation shall not result in significant adverse impacts to adjacent land uses.

15. One sign shall be allowed, which shall not exceed six square feet, shall not be illuminated, shall be constructed of wood with routed lettering that is compatible with the city’s semi-rural character, and shall comply with the sign ordinance of the city. A sketch of the proposed sign shall accompany the home occupation business license application.

16. All home occupations shall be subject to inspection, pursuant to Chapter 5.04 BMC.

17. The home occupation shall comply with all the requirements of the city’s nuisance and noise ordinances.

18. If two or more home occupations shall operate on one property, the combined home occupations shall comply with the foregoing performance standards.

B. Conditions. The city may impose additional conditions to mitigate any potential adverse impacts of the home occupation to the adjacent land uses. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017: Ord. 390 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2012: Ord. 350 § 1, 2007: Ord. 343 § 1(part), 2007; Ord. 20.M § 8.4, 1991. Formerly 17.12.040)

17.12.060 Procedure for home occupation business license applications.

A. In addition to the submittal requirements of BMC 5.04.040(A), the home occupation business license applicant must also provide directly to the city the following information for review:

1. A written statement describing in sufficient detail the nature of the home occupation and impacts to adjacent land uses;

2. A written statement fully addressing how the proposed home occupation satisfies each of the decision criteria in BMC 17.12.050;

3. A site plan that shows improved parking spaces designated for the home occupation;

4. A floor plan for the dwelling unit and any detached garage or workshop proposed for use as a home occupation showing:

a. The square footage of the total dwelling unit;

b. The square footage of the living area; and

c. The square footage and location of the area devoted to the home occupation;

5. If the applicant is other than the property owner, the property owner shall sign an acknowledgment that the property owner concurs in and authorizes the application;

6. For a proposed home occupation that is subject to city council review, the application shall contain the names and addresses of the owners of property within three hundred feet of the home occupation property, together with stamped and addressed legal size envelopes (with no return address) for each of such property owners.

B. Upon review of a complete home occupation business license application and completion of any inspection per BMC 5.04.110, the director shall take one of the following actions:

1. Forward the application to city council for decision pursuant to subsection C of this section if the home occupation would result in any of the following:

a. Customers and/or employees, as defined in BMC 17.12.020, coming to the premises;

b. More than two commercial deliveries to the premises per week;

c. Manufacturing with machinery;

d. Storage of equipment or supplies outside of a structure;

e. Recurring noise; or

f. Structural modifications;

2. Approve the application;

3. Approve the application with conditions necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter;

4. Request additional information regarding the type and nature of the proposed business or the responsible party; or

5. Deny the application as provided in BMC 5.04.040(C).

C. New home occupation business license applications that do not qualify for administrative review per subsection B of this section shall be reviewed by the city council using the following procedures:

1. The city council shall hold a quasi-judicial open record public hearing on the application.

2. Notification of the time, place and purpose of the hearing shall be given using the procedures in BMC 17.36.050(C).

3. At the hearing, the city council shall take testimony from the applicant and the applicant’s witnesses, all persons supporting or opposing the application and city staff and consultants regarding the application and the proposed home occupation.

4. Following the conclusion of the hearing, the city council shall make a final determination on the application, and may:

a. Approve the application;

b. Approve the application with conditions necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter; or

c. Deny the application as provided in BMC 5.04.040(C).

D. Upon approval of an application, the city clerk shall issue the license and deliver it to the applicant. Upon denial of the application, the fee shall be returned to the applicant together with notice that the application has been denied; provided, that if the applicant was engaged in the business activity while the application was being processed, the fee shall not be returned. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017: Ord. 435 § 3 (part), 2016; Ord. 390 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 2012: Ord. 343 § 1(part), 2007; Ord. 20.W §§ 6, 7, 2001; Ord. 20.M § 8.5, 1991. Formerly 17.12.050)

17.12.070 Home occupation business license time limit – Nontransferability.

All home occupation business licenses shall be valid for a period of one year, unless otherwise provided for in this chapter or Chapter 5.04 BMC. Any change in the owner or operator of the residence in which a home occupation is conducted, whether by conveyance, under will or inheritance, by assignment or other transfer in whole or in part, or change in business location, shall require application for a new business license. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017)

17.12.080 Home occupation business license renewal.

Home occupation business license renewal shall be processed pursuant to BMC 5.04.140. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017)

17.12.090 Inspection.

Inspections shall be conducted pursuant to BMC 5.04.110. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017)

17.12.095 Enforcement.

Violations of this chapter shall be enforced pursuant to BMC 5.04.160. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017)

17.12.100 Home occupation business license revocation.

Revocations of a home occupation business license shall be conducted pursuant to BMC 5.04.100. (Ord. 468 § 4 (Exh. A), 2020; Ord. 445 § 3 (Exh. C) (part), 2017)