Chapter 5.18


5.18.010    Purpose.

5.18.020    Definitions.

5.18.030    Business license requirement – Threshold exemption.

5.18.040    Exemptions.

5.18.050    License not transferable.

5.18.060    Disclaimer of city liability.

5.18.070    Prohibited use.

5.18.080    General application procedures.

5.18.090    Renewal.

5.18.100    Approval or denial of license.

5.18.110    Suspension or revocation procedure.

5.18.120    Exercise of power.

5.18.130    Penalties.

5.18.010 Purpose.

In order for the city to responsibly carry out the duties and authorities delegated to it by the Washington State Constitution and the laws of the state of Washington as a noncharter code city, maintenance of current information with respect to business, trade, service, commercial, and professional activities carried on within the city is necessary and essential for the public health, safety, and welfare. Such information can be best accumulated and maintained on a current basis through the establishment of a program for the licensing and registration of such activities. (Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words, and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein:

A. “Business” includes all activities, occupations, pursuits or professions located or engaged in within the city with the object of gain, benefit or advantage to the person engaged in the same, directly or indirectly, whether part-time or full-time. Each business location shall be deemed a separate business. Utility companies subject to utility taxes pursuant to Chapter 3.28 CHMC are defined as businesses unless otherwise exempt in CHMC 5.18.040.

B. Engaging in Business.

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 subsection 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 pay a business license fee. The activities listed in this section are illustrative only and are not intended to narrow the definition of “engaging in business” in subsection (B)(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 or 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 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 or director 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 (B)(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.

C. “Person” means any individual, firm, partnership, company, corporation, association, receiver, assignee, trust, estate, joint venture, group, joint stock company, business trust, society or any group of individuals acting as a unit.

D. “Licensee” means any business granted a business license by the city.

E. “Premises” includes all lands, structures and places, and also any personal property, which is either affixed to or is otherwise used in connection with any such business conducted on such premises.

F. “Administrator” is the city administrator or his/her designee. (Ord. 963 § 1, 2018; Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.030 Business license requirement – Threshold exemption.

Unless exempted under CHMC 5.18.040 or by the threshold exemption for a fee license set forth below, it is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to engage in or carry on within the city any business, profession, trade or occupation designated in this chapter without first having obtained from the city a license to do so. In addition to the business license other permits or licenses may be required for certain businesses.

Threshold for Fee-Free License/Registration-Only. For purposes of the license required by this chapter, any person or business whose annual value of products, gross proceeds of sales, or gross income of the business in the city is equal to or less than $2,000 and who does not maintain a place of business within the city shall submit a business license registration to the director or designee. The threshold does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit. (Ord. 963 § 2, 2018; Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.040 Exemptions.

The license requirements of this chapter shall not apply to the following:

A. All businesses operated not-for-profit shall be exempt upon satisfactory proof to the administrator of said not-for-profit status.

B. All peddlers licensed under Chapter 5.16 CHMC.

C. Casual or isolated sales, such as garage sales or Internet sales, made by persons who are not regularly engaged in such business. More than four such sales events made during any tax year constitutes “regularly engaging in business.”

D. Businesses where the sale or contract for services occurs on business premises outside the city or occurs via mail, telephone, Internet or similar means, and the only event occurring within the city is the mere delivery of the goods or services to the customer or client.

E. Minors engaged in babysitting, delivery of newspapers, lawn mowing, car washing, and similar activities.

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

G. Provision of Internet or wireless phone services where the only event occurring within the city is receipt of such services. The location of cell towers within the city does not subject a service provider to the licensing requirements of this chapter.

H. All special events sponsored by the city, but not to include participating commercial peddlers regulated under Chapter 5.16 CHMC.

I. Taxi, limousine, or airporter, or similar services where the business operates from premises located outside the city.

J. The sales or delivery of daily newspapers, whether subscriptions are taken or not, and dissemination of news and information. (Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.050 License not transferable.

No license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall be transferable or assignable. When a business changes ownership, or upon substantial change in the type of business operated, a new business license shall be required. (Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.060 Disclaimer of city liability.

The city of Clyde Hill expressly finds and requires that responsibility for compliance with the provisions of this chapter rest with license applicants and their agents and that no action, inaction, or omission of the city or any of its agents or employees shall serve to assume or shift responsibility for compliance with the provisions of this chapter to any other party, including the city. Issuance of a license pursuant to this chapter does not constitute the creation of a duty by the city to indemnify the licensee for any wrongful acts against the public, or to guarantee the quality of goods, services or expertise of a licensee. The issuance of a license does not shift responsibility from the licensee to the city for proper training, conduct, or equipment of the licensee or his agents, employees or representatives, even if specific regulations require standards of training, conduct or inspection. (Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.070 Prohibited use.

A license hereunder 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 any ordinance of the city of Clyde Hill or of the statutes 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 of the law. (Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.080 General application procedures.

A. Any new nonexempt business shall make application for a business license prior to engaging in business in the city. Application for a license shall be accomplished by filing a master application through the state Department of Licensing’s master license service. Persons applying for a license must pay a fee as established by the city council by periodic resolution, and the master license service’s handling fee.

B. No license shall be issued until the application has been fully completed and all applicable ordinances have been fully complied with. Issuance of a business license does not relieve an applicant of any obligations to obtain other state or federal licenses required for the business.

C. The administrator may submit all applications to the appropriate city department for their endorsements as to compliance by the applicant with all city regulations which they have the duty of enforcing.

D. The filing of an application for a license, or the renewal thereof, or the payment of any application fee or renewal fee, shall not authorize a person to engage in business until such license has been granted or renewed.

E. City business licenses shall be set to expire on the date established by the master license service. Should an applicant apply for a license after the beginning of the license year, the license fee as established by periodic resolution of the city council shall be paid in full and shall not be prorated. (Ord. 904 § 1, 2010; Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.090 Renewal.

A. All businesses shall renew their business license on or before the expiration date established by the master license service. Businesses must pay a renewal fee as established by the city council by periodic resolution and the master license service’s handling fee.

B. If any license issued under this chapter is not renewed by the date of expiration of the existing license, the master license service late renewal penalty authorized by RCW 19.02.085 may be charged. A license not renewed within 120 days after expiration may be cancelled. A business with a cancelled license must reapply for a license by filing a new application and paying all applicable fees as described in CHMC 5.18.080 in order to continue conducting business in the city. (Ord. 904 § 1, 2010; Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.100 Approval or denial of license.

A. Approval. The administrator shall issue business licenses to all persons who submit an application, pay the fee and are qualified under the requirements of this chapter, except that no business license shall be issued if any of the conditions listed in CHMC 5.18.110(A)(1) through (7) exist or apply to the license applicant or premises proposed to be licensed. Applicants for a business license to conduct a home occupation business must meet the additional criteria for approval established in Chapter 5.04 CHMC and applicants for a business license to rent their home on a short-term or vacation rental basis must meet the additional criteria for approval established in Chapter 5.20 CHMC.

B. Denial. The administrator shall notify the applicant in writing by certified mail of the denial of the application and the grounds therefor. Within 10 calendar days after receipt of the city’s notification of application denial, the applicant may request an appeal and hearing before the mayor by filing a written notice of appeal and paying the applicable appeal fee, as established by resolution of the city. The administrator shall notify the applicant by mail of the time and place of the hearing. At the hearing, the administrator shall have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there are sufficient grounds for the denial of the application. The applicant shall have an opportunity to present evidence and testify in opposition to any evidence or information submitted or presented by the administrator at the hearing. If request for hearing is not received within the time specified, the administrator’s decision shall be final. Any person desiring to appeal the mayor’s decision must file an appropriate lawsuit in the King County superior court within 10 days of the mayor’s decision.

C. If an application for a business license is denied and the applicant has filed a timely appeal of such denial, the applicant shall not conduct any business for which a business license was denied during the pendency of the appeal. (Ord. 946 § 3, 2016; Ord. 931 § 1, 2014; Ord. 930 § 2, 2014; Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.110 Suspension or revocation procedure.

A. In addition to the other penalties provided herein or by law, any business license issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked or suspended, should any or all of the following conditions apply:

1. The license was procured by fraud, false representation, or material omission of fact; or

2. The licensee or any of its employees, officers, agents or servants, while acting within the scope of their employment, violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter; or

3. The licensee’s continued conduct of the business for which the license was issued has or will result in a danger to the public health, safety or welfare, or the violation of any federal or state law or any ordinance or regulation of the city; or

4. The licensee, or any of its employees, officers, agents or servants has been convicted in any court of violating any federal, state or city criminal statute or ordinance upon the business premises stated in the license; or

5. The place of business does not conform to city ordinance; or

6. The license is being used for a purpose different from that for which it was issued; or

7. The licensee is indebted or obligated to the city for past due taxes, fees, or fines, excluding special assessments such as LID assessments.

B. If the administrator has reasonable cause to believe that any of the conditions listed in subsections (A)(1) through (7) of this section have occurred or exist with respect to any existing business license, licensee or licensed premises, the administrator shall send a notice to the licensee of a hearing to be held before the mayor, for the purpose of determining whether these conditions have occurred. At the hearing, the administrator shall have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there are sufficient grounds for the suspension or revocation of the license.

C. Such notice shall state the conditions that the administrator has reason to believe exist or have occurred, and shall also state the date and time of the hearing before the mayor at which the issue will be considered. Notices to the licensee shall be given by certified mail at least 14 days prior to the date of the hearing. At the hearing, the licensee shall have an opportunity to present evidence and testify in opposition to any evidence or information submitted or presented by the administrator.

D. If the mayor decides at the hearing that the licensee has violated the conditions of a license granted under this chapter, the mayor may revoke the license. Any person desiring to appeal the mayor’s decision must file an appropriate lawsuit in the King County superior court within 10 days of the mayor’s decision.

E. Upon revocation of any license as provided in this chapter, no portion of the license fee shall be returned to the licensee.

F. A licensee may continue to operate up to the time of the hearing before the mayor on the alleged violations. It is unlawful for any person whose license is revoked to continue operation of the business. The license shall immediately be surrendered to the administrator. (Ord. 931 § 2, 2014; Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.120 Exercise of power.

This chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the power of the city to license for revenue and regulation, and nothing in this chapter shall be construed to repeal or affect any other ordinance of the city which purports to regulate some business or activity pursuant to the general police power of the city, notwithstanding the fact that such ordinance may or might contain provisions relating to the licensing of such activity. (Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)

5.18.130 Penalties.

A. Violations. It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any of the provisions of this chapter and such person shall be subject to the penalties detailed below. Additionally, the license of the business in which the violation occurs may be revoked for such violation, whether the owner knew of or encouraged the violation.

B. Monetary Penalties.

1. Penalties. Any person who operates a business without a license or fails to renew a business license issued pursuant to this chapter may, in the discretion of the administrator, be assessed a maximum penalty of $250.00. This penalty shall be in addition to the required license fee.

2. Collection. Any license fee due and unpaid and delinquent shall constitute a debt of the city. The city may, pursuant to Chapter 19.16 RCW, use a collection agency to collect unpaid fees or taxes owed or assessed, or it may seek collection by court proceedings, which remedies shall be in addition to all other remedies.

C. Criminal Penalties for Repeat Violations. A second or repeat violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment not to exceed 90 days or by both fine and imprisonment. Each day or portion thereof during which any violation of any provision of this chapter occurs shall constitute a separate violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as provided in this section. (Ord. 903 § 1, 2009)