Chapter 5.05
GENERAL BUSINESS LICENSE CODE

Sections:

5.05.010    Title.

5.05.020    Definitions.

5.05.030    Administration and enforcement.

5.05.040    General business license required – Exemption.

5.05.050    Separate business license required.

5.05.060    License not transferable.

5.05.070    License posting.

5.05.080    Disclaimer of city liability.

5.05.090    Application procedure – License fee.

5.05.100    License does not indicate legality of business.

5.05.110    License renewal.

5.05.120    Overpayment or refund of license fee.

5.05.130    Grounds for denial or revocation of license.

5.05.140    Denial or revocation of license – Notice and opportunity to be heard.

5.05.150    Notice of license denial or revocation and scheduling of hearing.

5.05.160    Hearing to deny or revoke business license.

5.05.170    Authority of hearing examiner – Order – Appeal.

5.05.180    Corrective action prior to hearing.

5.05.190    Violations and enforcement – Penalties.

5.05.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known, cited, and referenced as the “General Business License Code.” (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.020 Definitions.

A. Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter. Any word or phrase not contained herein shall be first referenced to Chapter 18.20 EMC for meaning.

1. For any word or term not defined herein, the latest edition of Webster’s Dictionary shall be used.

2. The director or their designee has the final authority to determine the interpretation or usage of terms used in this chapter.

B. Additional definitions not contained in Chapter 18.20 EMC that apply to this title are:

1. “Business” means all activities, occupations, pursuits or professions engaged in the city of Edgewood (as the term “engage in” is defined below).

2. “City clerk” means the city clerk for the city or their designee.

3. Engage In or Engaging In. The city expressly intends that this definition includes any activity sufficient to establish nexus for the purpose of applying the business license fee under the law and 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. This definition is satisfied through any of the activities described in subsections (3)(a) through (e) of this section.

a. 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.

b. 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 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)(3)(a). 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.

c. 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:

i. 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.

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

iii. Soliciting sales.

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

v. 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.

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

vii. Soliciting, negotiating, or approving franchises, licenses or other similar agreements.

viii. Collecting current or delinquent accounts.

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

x. 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.

xi. 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, or veterinarians.

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

xiii. 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.

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

xv. 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.

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

d. If a person, or its employee, agent, representative, independent contractor, broker, or another person 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:

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

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

iii. 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.

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

v. 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.

vi. Conducting advertising through the mail.

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

e. A seller located outside the city merely delivering goods into the city by means of a 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.

4. “Licensee” means any business or business enterprise that applies for or is granted a business license. The term “licensee” shall also mean the person who submits a business license for approval, the owner or operator of a business or business enterprise, and any corporation, partnership, nonprofit or organization which owns or operates the business or business enterprise. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.030 Administration and enforcement.

A. The city clerk shall have general charge of, and supervision over, the administration and enforcement of this chapter.

B. The city clerk may call upon other city departments to aid in the enforcement of this chapter.

C. The licensee shall, upon reasonable request, provide or allow the city clerk to inspect relevant documentation for verification of the information provided by the licensee on the business license application. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.040 General business license required – Exemption.

A. It is unlawful for anyone to engage in business in the city without having first obtained a general business license for the current calendar year or unexpired portion thereof and paid the fees prescribed in this chapter.

B. To the extent set forth in this section, the following persons and businesses shall be exempt from the registration, license, and license fee requirements as outlined below:

1. 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 $5,000 and who does not maintain a place of business within the city shall be exempt from the general business license requirements in this chapter.

2. The exemption does not apply to regulatory license requirements, activities that require a specialized permit, or occupancy requirements required by the city. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.050 Separate business license required.

A. A separate license shall be obtained for each business enterprise within the city and each license shall authorize the licensee to carry on, pursue or conduct business only at that enterprise.

B. A separate license shall not be required for a facility determined by the city clerk to be an accessory facility to a business for which a license is issued.

C. When the location of a business changes, the licensee shall return the license to the city clerk and a new license shall be issued for the new place of business free of charge, as long as no grounds exist for denial or revocation of the license, as set forth in EMC 5.05.130. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.060 License not transferable.

A. No license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall be transferable or assignable.

B. In the event that ownership of a business changes, the license shall be returned to the city clerk and a new license applied for. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.070 License posting.

All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall be posted in a conspicuous place at each business enterprise. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.080 Disclaimer of city liability.

A. Issuance of a license pursuant to this chapter does not constitute the creation of any duty by the city to indemnify the licensee for any wrongful acts against the public or any individual, or to guarantee the quality of goods, services, or expertise of a licensee.

B. 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/her agents, employees or representatives. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.090 Application procedure – License fee.

A. The city council shall, by resolution, establish the fees to be assessed to implement and operate the regulations adopted in this chapter.

B. Applicants shall provide all necessary information to the city in the city’s business license application form, which shall be accompanied by a receipt from the BLS showing payment of the required fee. A new business license shall be required annually. If the application for a new license is made within six months of the date fixed for expiration, the fee shall be one-half the annual fee. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.100 License does not indicate legality of business.

A. The issuance of a license pursuant to this chapter shall not be evidence of the legality of a business or indicate that the business is conducted in conformity with any laws or regulations of the city, the state of Washington or the United States.

B. The issuance of a business license shall not prevent the city, the state of Washington or the United States from taking any action relating to the conduct of the business or the licensee, including, but not limited to, action to revoke the license or deny an application for a future license, an action to cause the cessation of the business, or any enforcement action described in this chapter. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.110 License renewal.

A. A business license shall expire at the end of the calendar year for which it is issued.

B. The city clerk may mail the forms for application for a new business license to business enterprises in the city to the last address provided to the city clerk by the licensee. Failure of the business to receive any such form shall not excuse the business from securing the required license or from paying the license fee when due.

C. Failure to obtain a new business license for each subsequent calendar year shall subject the licensee to the penalties set forth in EMC 5.05.190, in addition to the required license fee.

D. Business licenses shall be obtained by January 1st of each subsequent calendar year that the person or business continues to engage in business within the city. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.120 Overpayment or refund of license fee.

Whenever a business makes an overpayment, and within two years after the date of such overpayment makes an application for a refund or credit for the overpayment, the claim shall be considered by the city clerk and, if approved, shall be repaid by the city. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.130 Grounds for denial or revocation of license.

A. In addition to other actions or penalties provided by law, the city may deny or revoke any license applied for or issued pursuant to this chapter for any of the following reasons:

1. The license application contains an omission or misrepresentation of material fact.

2. The license was procured by fraud.

3. The license is used or is intended to be used for a business materially different from that applied for.

4. The licensee or business fails to pay the licensing fee applicable to such license.

5. The licensee or business violates any of the requirements of this chapter.

6. The business engages in, or the licensee seeks a license to engage in, an unlawful business or activity.

7. The business operates in a manner that constitutes a nuisance pursuant to common law or the ordinances and codes of the city of Edgewood or the statutes of the state of Washington.

8. The licensee is not 18 years of age or older at the time the license is applied for.

9. The licensee or the business has had a similar license denied or revoked and has not corrected the basis for the denial or revocation.

B. The issuance of a license that could have been denied pursuant to subsection (A) of this section shall not prohibit the city from taking action to revoke the license at a later date, and it shall at all times remain the exclusive responsibility of the licensee to ensure that the business complies with the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.140 Denial or revocation of license – Notice and opportunity to be heard.

In accordance with EMC 5.05.150 through 5.05.180, a licensee shall have an opportunity to be heard subsequent to the denial of a business license, or prior to the revocation of an existing license. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.150 Notice of license denial or revocation and scheduling of hearing.

A. Denial of License. Any action to deny a license applied for or issued shall be commenced by the city clerk’s notice of the denial. A notice issued under this subsection shall substantially comply with the following:

1. The notice shall be delivered, by first class mail or by personal service, to the business license applicant or the holder of the business license as set forth in the most recent business license application.

2. The notice shall describe the basis for the denial.

3. The notice shall describe the corrective action, if any, that may be taken to eliminate the basis for denial.

4. The notice shall specify the deadline for the applicant to submit an appeal to the hearing examiner in order to request an appeal hearing to contest the denial. If an appeal is filed, the appeal hearing shall be scheduled not less than 14 but not more than 60 days after the date the notice is delivered in accordance with this subsection (A).

5. The notice shall provide that if the licensee fails to appear on the date specified in the notice, the appeal of the denial is waived.

B. Revocation of License. Any action to revoke an issued license shall be commenced by a notice of the revocation. A notice issued under this subsection shall substantially comply with the following:

1. The notice shall be delivered, by first class mail or personal service, to the holder of the business license as set forth in the most recent business license application or business license issued.

2. The notice shall describe the basis for the revocation.

3. The notice shall describe the corrective action, if any, that may be taken to eliminate the basis for the revocation.

4. The notice shall specify the deadline for the applicant to submit an appeal to the hearing examiner, in order to request an appeal hearing to contest the revocation. If an appeal is filed, the appeal hearing shall be scheduled not less than 14 but not more than 60 days after the date the notice is delivered in accordance with subsection (A) of this section.

5. The notice shall provide that if the holder of the business license fails to appear on the date specified in the notice, default judgment shall be entered and the license shall be revoked on the failure to appear.

C. Operation during Appeal. When a license application has been denied or revoked and during the pendency of any appeal on the denial or revocation, the applicant/licensee shall not engage in the business for which the license was denied or revoked unless or until the license issues pursuant to the hearing examiner’s order or court judgment. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.160 Hearing to deny or revoke business license.

A. Parties to Hearing. The parties to a hearing provided pursuant to this chapter shall be the city and the licensee (and/or legal counsel for the two parties).

B. Date for Hearing. Hearings shall be scheduled to occur no less than 14 but not more than 60 days after the date the notice of denial or revocation is delivered in accordance with EMC 5.05.150; provided, that additional hearings may be held after 60 days as determined by the hearing examiner. The hearing examiner shall have discretion to grant continuances and reschedule hearings in the interest of the parties and justice.

C. Prehearing Conferences. The hearing examiner may, in the examiner’s discretion or at the request of either party, hold a prehearing conference to schedule additional hearings, order discovery, and to make other appropriate pretrial determinations. A prehearing conference may be held by telephone.

D. Hearing Process. The parties to the hearing, or legal counsel for the parties, may call witnesses and present evidence and rebuttal evidence subject to the following:

1. The city shall have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there are sufficient grounds for the denial or revocation of the license pursuant to EMC 5.05.130. Violations subject to civil infraction or criminal penalties shall be enforced in Pierce County municipal court. (See EMC 5.05.190.)

2. The parties shall be responsible for securing the appearance of any witnesses they may call. Neither the city nor the hearing examiner shall have the burden of securing any witnesses on behalf of the licensee.

3. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply. The hearing examiner may allow hearsay evidence and may permit the admission of evidence without proof of the chain of custody of evidence. Notes, reports, summaries, notices, photographs, or other materials prepared by the parties may be admitted into evidence if requested, without satisfaction of formal rules of evidence. Notwithstanding the admission of evidence, the hearing examiner shall determine the proper weight to be assigned to any evidence admitted.

E. Default Judgment. If the licensee fails to appear on the hearing date specified in the notice or at any other hearing set by the hearing examiner, the right to a hearing shall be forfeit and default judgment shall be entered and the license shall be denied or revoked. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.170 Authority of hearing examiner – Order – Appeal.

A. Authority. The hearing examiner shall have the authority to determine whether or not there are sufficient grounds for the denial or revocation of the business license, pursuant to EMC 5.05.130.

B. Order. The hearing examiner shall issue a written order that sets forth a procedural summary of the hearing, his or her findings of fact and conclusions of law, and his or her determination. In the event of a default judgment, the written order shall set forth whether notice was properly issued, the facts regarding the failure of the licensee to appear, and a determination of default in the event notice was proper. The written order shall be delivered to the parties by first class mail, deposited in the mail no more than 21 days following the conclusion of the hearing. The order of the hearing examiner shall become effective on the third day following placement of the order in the mail.

C. Appeal. An appeal of the order of the hearing examiner must be filed with the superior court within 21 days of the effective date of the order. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.180 Corrective action prior to hearing.

In the event the licensee takes corrective action and the grounds for the denial or revocation are abated, and such corrective action and abatement occurs prior to the date set for hearing, the hearing shall be canceled, and the license shall be issued or reissued. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).

5.05.190 Violations and enforcement – Penalties.

A. Any violation of any provision of this chapter may be enforced as provided in this section.

B. Each separate date, or portion thereof, during which any violation occurs shall constitute a separate violation.

C. Enforcement.

1. Civil Infraction. A business, licensee or person who violates any provision of this chapter commits a Class 1 civil infraction as set forth in RCW 7.80.120(1)(a). An infraction issued pursuant to this section shall be issued by the mayor or their designee filed in the Pierce County District Court (PCDC) and processed in the same manner as other infractions. If a business, licensee, or person cited for failure to obtain a business license appears before the PCDC and provides written evidence that he or she obtained a business license prior to adjudication of the infraction, the monetary penalty shall be reduced to $100.00 and the court may assess court administrative costs of $25.00. The court administrative costs shall be in lieu of the statutory assessments referenced in RCW 7.80.120.

2. Criminal Violation. A person who knowingly violates a provision of this chapter, or commits a repeat violation of this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to the maximum penalty established in RCW 9A.20.021(3). For purposes of this section, “repeat violation” means either a prior committed finding by the PCDC of an infraction issued under this chapter, or a committed finding by the hearing examiner of a violation of this chapter by the same business, licensee or person within a five-year period.

3. Injunction. In addition to or as an alternative to any other enforcement or penalty provided for in this chapter, and because a violation constitutes an actual injury to the community, the city may seek injunctive relief or other equitable relief to prevent any activity in violation of this chapter.

4. Collections. Any license fee or penalty due, unpaid and delinquent under this chapter shall constitute a debt to the city. The city may, pursuant to RCW 19.16.500, use a collection agency to collect unpaid license fees or penalties, or it may seek collection by court proceedings, which remedies shall be in addition to all other remedies. (Ord. 18-530 § 2 (Att. A)).