Chapter 5.05


Article I. Business Licenses

5.05.010    Provisions.

5.05.020    Definitions.

5.05.030    Business license required – Exemptions.

5.05.035    Business license – Application – Separate licenses – Not transferable – Posting.

5.05.040    Peddler’s license.

5.05.050    Business license fee.

5.05.060    Business license – Expiration – Renewal – Penalties.

5.05.070    Town-assessed delinquency charge.

5.05.080    Repealed.

5.05.090    Fee constitutes debt.

5.05.100    Repealed.

Article II. Enforcement

5.05.110    Requirements.

5.05.120    Review of applications.

5.05.130    Notice of violation.

5.05.140    Suspension of license.

5.05.150    Appeal of decision.

5.05.160    Notice of suspension or denial.

5.05.170    Hearing of appeal.

5.05.180    Time limit.

5.05.190    Violation – Civil penalty.

Article I. Business Licenses

5.05.010 Provisions.

The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the police power of the town of La Conner, Washington, for the protection of the public, economic and social welfare, health, peace and morals, and all of its provisions shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of that purpose. [Ord. 1202 § 1, 2021; Ord. 569 § 1, 1989.]

5.05.020 Definitions.

In construing this chapter, except when otherwise plainly declared or clearly apparent from context, the following definitions shall be applied:

(1) “Person” means any individual, firm, co-partnership, corporation, association, or any group of individuals acting as a unit.

(2) “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.

(a) This section sets forth examples of activities that constitute engaging in business in the town, 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 town 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 this subsection (2). If an activity is not listed, whether it constitutes engaging in business in the town shall be determined by considering all the facts and circumstances and applicable law.

(b) Without being all inclusive, any one of the following activities conducted within the town 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 town.

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

(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 franchise, license, 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, and 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 town, 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.

(c) 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 town 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 town.

(v) Attending, but not participating in, a “trade show” or “multiple vendor events.” Persons participating at a trade show shall review the town’s trade show or multiple vendor event ordinances.

(vi) Conducting advertising through the mail.

(vii) Soliciting sales by phone from a location outside the town.

(d) A seller located outside the town merely delivering goods into the town 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 town. Such activities do not include those in subsection (2)(c) of this section.

The town 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.

(3) “Town” means the town of La Conner, Washington.

(4) “Business Licensing Service” or “BLS” means the office within the Washington State Department of Revenue providing business licensing services to the town. [Ord. 1202 § 2, 2021; Ord. 569 § 2, 1989.]

5.05.030 Business license required – Exemptions.

(1) No person may engage in or carry on any business, occupation, pursuit or privilege for which a business license is imposed by this article without first having obtained, and being the holder of, a valid license to do so, to be known as a “business license.”

(2) Any person or business whose annual value of products, gross proceeds of sales, or gross income of the business in the town is equal to or less than $2,000 and who does not maintain a place of business within the town must obtain a business license from the town; provided, that such business license is exempt from the town’s business license fee. The exemption does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit. [Ord. 1202 § 3, 2021; Ord. 1173 § 1, 2018; Ord. 569 § 3, 1989.]

5.05.035 Business license – Application – Separate licenses – Not transferable – Posting.

(1) Application for the town’s business license is made through the State of Washington Business Licensing Service (BLS), and must include all information required for all licenses requested, the total fees due for all licenses, and the application handling fee required by RCW 19.02.075.

(2) The application information will be provided to the town clerk, who will review the application or forward it to the appropriate town official for review to determine whether the license is to be issued through the BLS, as per LCMC 5.05.120.

(3) Each place of business within the town must be licensed separately, even if operated by the same person.

(4) If two or more persons each operate a separate business at the same location each person must obtain their own license for their respective business.

(5) The business license issued under the provisions of this chapter is personal and may not be transferred to another person. No person may allow any other person to operate under or display their license, nor may any person operate under or display another person’s license. In the event of the transfer of a business to a new person, the new owner must obtain their own license as provided for under this chapter prior to commencing business in the town under the acquired business.

(6) The business license issued under this chapter must be posted in a conspicuous place at the business location for which it was issued, and must be made available for inspection by any town official when so requested. [Ord. 1202 § 4, 2021.]

5.05.040 Peddler’s license.

No person shall sell, or attempt to sell, any goods, articles, or things of value by peddling, selling, or attempting to sell the same from along the streets, whether moving or stationary, from house to house or from door to door without obtaining directly from the town clerk a peddler’s business license therefor in the manner set forth herein and which is separate from the town’s general business license as otherwise required by this chapter. The fee for the peddler’s license shall be $10.00 per day per person.

The organization sponsoring a single event of no more than three days’ duration and involving multiple vendors may satisfy the requirements of this provision by applying for and obtaining directly from the town clerk a master peddler’s license. To obtain the master peddler’s license, the sponsoring organization shall complete an application prescribed by the town which lists the number of vendors, vendor locations, the dates each vendor will be engaging in open air vending and shall include the authorization from the town allowing the special use for the event. Additionally, the sponsoring organization shall pay directly to the town the fee for the master peddler’s license prior to the event. The fee for the master peddler’s license shall be $10.00 per day, per vendor. [Ord. 1202 § 5, 2021; Ord. 903 § 1, 2003; Ord. 569 § 4, 1989.]

5.05.050 Business license fee.

On or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, there is levied upon and shall be collected from and paid as hereinafter provided, by every person, on account and for the privilege of engaging in business activities within the town an annual license fee in an amount determined by resolution of the town council. [Ord. 1202 § 6, 2021; Ord. 1039 § 2, 2009; Ord. 1018 § 1, 2009; Ord. 997 § 1, 2007; Ord. 619 § 1, 1992; Ord. 569 § 5, 1989.]

5.05.060 Business license – Expiration – Renewal – Penalties.

(1) The business license referred to herein expires on the date established by the Business Licensing Service (BLS), and must be renewed on or before that date to continue to engage in business in the town after that date.

(2) Application for renewal of the business license is made through the BLS, and must include all information required for all licenses being renewed, the total fees due for all licenses, and the renewal application handling fee required by RCW 19.02.075.

(3) The license term and respective town fee amount due may be prorated as necessary to synchronize the license expiration with the expiration of the license account maintained by the BLS.

(4) Failure to complete the license renewal by the expiration date will incur the late renewal penalty required by RCW 19.02.085 in addition to all other fees due.

(5) Failure to complete the license renewal within 120 days after expiration will result in the cancellation of the license and will require submitting a new application for license to obtain a new license as otherwise provided for in this chapter to continue to engage in business in the town. The town is authorized to require payment of all past due amounts prior to approving the new license.

(6) Businesses which have moved their location or significantly changed the nature of business conducted must have their license renewal application reviewed as per LCMC 5.05.120 prior to issuance of a new license. [Ord. 1202 § 7, 2021; Ord. 569 § 6, 1989.]

5.05.070 Town-assessed delinquency charge.

For any license procured after the applicable date required herein, the town finance director may assess in addition to the required town license fee, a delinquency charge of 10 percent of the license fee due for each month or part of a month occurring between the time such license is procured and the time when same should have been procured, under the terms of this chapter. Such penalty is in addition to other penalties provided for in this chapter and must be paid directly to the town. [Ord. 1202 § 8, 2021; Ord. 1065 § 1, 2011; Ord. 797 § 1, 2001; Ord. 569 § 7, 1989.]

5.05.080 Fee prorated.

Repealed by Ord. 1202. [Ord. 569 § 8, 1989.]

5.05.090 Fee constitutes debt.

Any town license fee due or unpaid under this chapter and all town assessed penalties thereon constitute a debt to the town of La Conner and may be collected by court proceedings in the same manner as may other debt in like amount, which remedy shall be in addition to all other existing remedies. [Ord. 1202 § 10, 2021; Ord. 569 § 9, 1989.]

5.05.100 Duty of licensee.

Repealed by Ord. 1202. [Ord. 569 § 11, 1989.]

Article II. Enforcement

5.05.110 Requirements.

No new business license shall be issued until such time as the applicant demonstrates that the business meets all the requirements of the La Conner Land Use Regulations as used herein, or as adopted or amended in the future. [Ord. 579 § 1, 1990.]

5.05.120 Review of applications.

Every application for a new business license and every renewal for a business, which has moved or changed its business purpose in the town of La Conner, shall be reviewed by the town planner, who shall determine whether the proposed business meets the requirements of the La Conner land use regulations. The planner shall certify to the town clerk by notation upon the application whether the business meets the land use regulations and fees are paid. [Ord. 1202 § 11, 2021; Ord. 986 § 5, 2007; Ord. 579 § 2, 1990.]

5.05.130 Notice of violation.

(1) At any time that the town planner has probable cause to believe that the holder of a business license is operating in violation of any provision of the La Conner land use regulations, or in violation of any condition made a part of any permit granted by the town of La Conner or agreed to by the licensee, the planner shall issue to the business a notice to cease or correct the violation within 10 days of receipt thereof. The notice shall be sent by any form of U.S. mail requiring a return receipt. Notice may also be given to the business owner by being posted in a conspicuous place near any entrance commonly used to the business itself.

(2) The notice described in subsection (1) of this section shall state the nature of the violation in clear terms and shall refer to the section of any ordinance or statute which is violated, or to the specific condition or assurance which has been or is being violated. [Ord. 1202 § 12, 2021; Ord. 579 § 3, 1990.]

5.05.140 Suspension of license.

The business license of any business continuing to operate in violation of the La Conner Land Use Regulations, for more than 10 days after the receipt of the foregoing notices shall be immediately suspended by the town planner and shall immediately cease to do business until the violation is corrected or the planner is satisfied that sufficient arrangements for corrective action within reasonable amount of time have been made. [Ord. 579 § 4, 1990.]

5.05.150 Appeal of decision.

Any decision of the town planner with respect to issuance or suspension of a business license may be appealed to the town council. Such appeal must be filed with the town clerk no more than five business days after receipt of notice of a decision by the planner to deny or suspend a business license. [Ord. 1202 § 13, 2021; Ord. 579 § 5, 1990.]

5.05.160 Notice of suspension or denial.

Notice of any suspension or denial of a business license shall be sent by certified mail to the applicant and/or posted at the premises as set forth in LCMC 5.05.130. For purposes of appeal, the date any certified letter is received or the date of posting of the premises shall be deemed the date of receipt by licensee or applicant. [Ord. 579 § 6, 1990.]

5.05.170 Hearing of appeal.

Upon receipt of a timely filed appeal, the town clerk shall set a hearing of the appeal before the town hearing examiner. The date of the hearing shall be at least 10 days after receipt of the appeal, but no later than 30 days after receipt of the appeal. The applicant shall have the burden of proof to show by a preponderance of evidence that it is in compliance with the La Conner land use regulations or any conditions or assurance made in conjunction with the issuance of a permit. The licensee may be represented by counsel and all evidence by any party or witness shall be given under oath. The licensee shall have the right to cross-examine any witness in the appeal proceeding. [Ord. 1202 § 14, 2021; Ord. 579 § 7, 1990.]

5.05.180 Time limit.

Any appeal of the town council’s decision to the superior court of the state of Washington shall be filed within 20 days of the date of the hearing examiner’s decision. [Ord. 1202 § 15, 2021; Ord. 579 § 8, 1990.]

5.05.190 Violation – Civil penalty.

Any person owning or operating a business in the town of La Conner as defined in this chapter, without a business license or while the business license is suspended, shall be guilty of a civil infraction and subject to a civil penalty as set forth and established in Chapter 1.15 LCMC. [Ord. 839 § 10, 2001.]