Chapter 4.04


4.04.010    License required—Fees.

4.04.015    Definitions.

4.04.020    Single fee required.

4.04.025    License—Contents.

4.04.030    Required for building permit.

4.04.050    Exemptions.

4.04.060    Time for procuring—Delinquency penalty.

4.04.070    Termination or refusal of service for utilities.

4.04.080    License nonrefundable and nontransferable.

4.04.090    Location change.

4.04.095    Conducting business from a vehicle or other portable conveyance as a stationary vendor.

4.04.097    Stationary vendor standards.

4.04.100    Consent to inspections and searches.

4.04.110    Violation—Penalty.

4.04.120    Revocation of license.

4.04.010 License required—Fees.

All persons, corporations or co-partnerships, associations or companies shall first obtain a license from the city clerk, as hereinafter provided, before engaging in any business, profession, trade, service or occupation, including acting as an itinerant merchant, salesperson, canvass person, advertiser or promoter, excepting as an employee, within the city of Othello, or engaging in any show, exhibition, or lawful game carried on within the corporate limits thereof. Such license fees shall be paid in accordance with the following schedule:

(a) Places of Amusement, Relaxation or Recreation.

(1) Public dances

$50.00 per dance or

$450.00 per calendar year

(2) Boxing and/or professional wrestling exhibitions

$80.00 per calendar year

$60.00 April 1st through June 30th

$40.00 July 1st through September 30th

$20.00 October 1st through December 31st

(3) Floor shows, vaudeville, circuses, carnivals, or exhibitions

$80.00 per calendar year

(4) Bowling alleys

$80.00 per calendar year

$60.00 April 1st through June 30th

$40.00 July 1st through September 30th

$20.00 October 1st through December 31st

(5) Theaters

$80.00 per calendar year

$60.00 April 1st through June 30th

$40.00 July 1st through September 30th

$20.00 October 1st through December 31st

(6) Skating rinks, shooting galleries

$80.00 per calendar year

$60.00 April 1st through June 30th

$40.00 July 1st through September 30th

$20.00 October 1st through December 31st

(7) Clubs operated for personal financial profit


(8) Taverns, pool halls, recreation places, restaurants and other establishments selling beer, wine and spirits to be consumed on premises (excepting nonprofit associations)


(b) All Other.

(1) All other business, profession, service, trade or occupation*

$80.00 per calendar year

$60.00 April 1st through June 30th

$40.00 July 1st through September 30th

$20.00 October 1st through December 31st

(2) Itinerant merchants, including mobile vendors and stationary vendors

$80.00 per calendar year

$60.00 April 1st through June 30th

$40.00 July 1st through September 30th

$20.00 October 1st through December 31st

(3) The self-employed solicitor or the company or firm employing the solicitors

$80.00 per calendar year

$60.00 April 1st through June 30th

$40.00 July 1st through September 30th

$20.00 October 1st through December 31st

(Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1385 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1286 § 1, 2008: Ord. 1186 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1159 § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 1061 § 1 (part), 2000: Ord. 756 § 1, 1986: Ord. 423 § 1, 1971: Ord. 254 § 1, 1961).

*    Code reviser’s note: Cabaret license fees are in Section 4.28.050.

4.04.015 Definitions.

As used herein, the following words will have the following meanings as applied to the classification of business license fees:

(a)    “Bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization” means any entity that solicits or collects contributions from the general public where the contribution is or is to be used to support a charitable activity, but does not include any commercial fund- raiser or commercial fundraising entity, as provided for in RCW 19.09.020(2). A “not-for-profit corporation” means a corporation whereby no part of the income or assets is distributable to its members, directors, or officers, as provided in RCW 24.03.005(3).

(b)    “Business, trade, or profession” means any activity or venture carried on for profit whether paid in cash or by means of barter or trade.

(c)    “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. 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.

(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 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 (c)(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 (c)(4) of this section.

(d)    “Floor shows,” “vaudeville,” “circuses,” or “exhibitions” include all showings or displays that are commonly known by such terms and any type of show or exhibit not otherwise described herein, which are open to public viewing and admission charge is made, and conducted for private profit of any person, firm, or corporation.

(e)    “General business license” means a license, not including a regulatory license or a temporary license, that a city requires all or most businesses to obtain to conduct business within that city.

(f)    “Itinerant merchant” means any person, firm or corporation, whether as owner, agent, consignee or employee, whether a resident of the city or not, who engages in a temporary business of selling or delivering goods, wares and merchandise within the city, and who in the furtherance of such purpose hires, leases, uses or occupies any building, structure, motor vehicle, tent, railroad boxcar, boat, public room in hotels, lodging house, apartment, shop or any street, alley, lot, yard or any other place within the city, for the exhibition and sale of such goods, wares and merchandise, either privately or at public auction.

(g)    “Tavern” means any place so defined in the Washington State Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, and in addition, it includes, for the purpose of Section 4.04.010 and this section, any establishment conducted for private profit, in which more than one-half of the monthly gross income is derived from the sale of beer and/or wine, and upon demand of the city clerk, the proprietor of such an establishment shall furnish proof by way of its books of account, what proportion of its gross income is derived from the sale of beer and/or wine.

(h)    “Mobile vendor” means an itinerant merchant who conducts business from a vehicle or other conveyance upon public streets, sidewalks, alleys, or other public ways of the city.

(i)    “Stationary vendor” means an itinerant merchant who conducts business from a vehicle or other conveyance upon privately or publicly owned property, but not on a public street, sidewalk, alley or public way of the city.

(j)    “Regulatory business license” means a license, other than a general business license, required for certain types of businesses that a city has determined warrants additional regulation, such as taxicab or other for-hire vehicle operators, adult entertainment businesses, amusement device operators, massage parlors, debt collectors, door-to-door sales persons, trade-show operators, and home-based businesses. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1285 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 1186 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 423 § 2, 1971).

4.04.020 Single fee required.

No business or occupation operating in a single building, under one management or ownership, shall pay more than one of the business or occupation license fees regardless of the multiple nature of the businesses carried on in said establishment; but they shall pay the highest single fee applicable to any of the businesses carried on in the establishment. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1186 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 254 § 2, 1961).

4.04.025 License—Contents.

All licenses provided for in this chapter shall be issued by the clerk’s office upon paying the proper license fee as provided in this chapter, including any unpaid license fees and penalties from prior licensing periods. All licenses shall bear the name of the licensee and shall designate the nature of the business, trade or profession operated by the licensee. The licenses shall also designate the location where the business, trade or profession is carried on, the date of expiration of the license, the date of the issuance of the license, and the amount paid for the license. Each licensee shall conspicuously post such license in his place of business or office, and shall produce such license for inspection if required to do so by any customer, police officer or authorized city official. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1186 § 2 (part), 2004).

4.04.030 Required for building permit.

No building permit shall be issued by the city of Othello to any person, firm, or corporation, engaged in any of the building trades, until the requirements of this chapter have been complied with. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 254 § 3, 1961).

4.04.050 Exemptions.

A license, as provided for in this chapter, shall not be required in the following situations:

(a)    A farmer or rancher selling the products, fruits or crops actually produced by the seller.

(b)    Sales conducted by a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization.

(c)    A flea market, festival, event or bazaar conducted within the city limits, organized and managed by a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization; provided, that the location of the flea market, festival, event or bazaar meets all zoning, fire, and building codes. However, a flea market, festival, event or bazaar being conducted for profitable gain must comply with the business licensing provisions.

(d)    A person making casual or isolated sales of goods or merchandise at a flea market, rummage sale, yard sale, garage sale, bazaar or like sale when such sales are only conducted on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or any city-recognized holiday; however, the operator of a yard or garage sale must comply with all requirements in Chapter 4.24.

(e)    Sales conducted by students of public or private primary and secondary schools and other organized groups associated with public or private school systems.

(f)    Artisans, crafters, or authors who produce their own art, craft work, books and journals, who are invited to exhibit and sell their work as a part of an event sponsored by a registered, nonprofit organization or a for-profit merchants’ organization.

(g)    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 two thousand dollars and who does not maintain a place of business within the city shall be exempt from the general business license requirements in this chapter. The exemption does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1328 § 1, 2010: Ord. 1186 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 727 § 1, 1985: Ord. 254 § 5, 1961).

4.04.060 Time for procuring—Delinquency penalty.

The licenses required by the terms of this chapter shall be procured by the licensee within thirty days of January 1st of the calendar year for which required, or prior to the commencement of operation of business in the city, whichever date is later, excepting new or temporary proprietors shall obtain a license prior to commencing business. For any license procured after the applicable date required herein there is hereby assessed, and there shall be collected by the clerk’s department, in addition to the required annual license fee, a delinquency charge of twenty percent effective February 1st and forty percent per month after March 1st accruing between the time the license should have been procured, under the terms of this chapter, and the time when the actual license is procured. For new businesses who have been approved for their license and have failed to pay for their business license, a delinquency charge of twenty percent effective February 1st and forty percent per month after March 1st shall be charged, beginning the last day of the following month after the first initial invoice. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1385 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1186 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 254 § 7, 1961).

4.04.070 Termination or refusal of service for utilities.

The city shall have the power and authority to terminate or deny water and sewer utility service to any property upon a determination by the city administrator that any of the violations contained in Section 12.36.010 have occurred. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1175 § 1, 2004).

4.04.080 License nonrefundable and nontransferable.

After the business license application has been reviewed and a business license has been issued, the license fee collected will be nonrefundable and nontransferable to a different location. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1186 § 2 (part), 2004).

4.04.090 Location change.

If the existing licensee desires to change the location of the business, profession, trade, or service from the location designated on the business license, application must be made to the clerk’s department prior to the change in location. The clerk’s department shall proceed with the review of such application and the business license shall be issued if the location is in compliance with all building, fire, and zoning codes and meets the approval of the police and public works departments. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1186 § 2 (part), 2004).

4.04.095 Conducting business from a vehicle or other portable conveyance as a stationary vendor.

(a)    Each application for a business conducted from a vehicle or other portable conveyance shall be accompanied with the following information:

(1)    A written authorization from the property owner to conduct the applicant’s business at the place so noted on the application.

(2)    A statement explaining the method of trash, litter, and sewer disposal being proposed by the vendor.

(3)    A drawing to a scale not greater than fifty feet per inch and not less than ten feet per inch, which shall depict the following information:

(A)    The portion of the property to be occupied by the business, including location of tables and chairs, if applicable.

(B)    The portion of the property to be used for automobile parking and the number of automobiles accommodated in said area.

(C)    The location of driveways providing ingress and egress to the property.

(D)    The location of existing buildings and structures located on the property, noting the use of each building or structure so identified.

(E)    Location of the nearest public and/or employee restroom to be used by the business.

(4)    Mobile food vendors must show proof of a Labor and Industries inspection prior to approval of the business license. The vehicle must have a current Labor and Industries inspection sticker at all times.

(b)    Must have a Washington State UBI master license.

(c)    Mobile food vendors shall comply with all laws, rules, and regulations regarding food handling. All vehicles used for the sale of food shall comply with all the laws, rules, and regulations respecting such vehicles as established by the Adams County health department and as set forth in the Othello Municipal Code as well as all fire regulations that apply.

(d)    Mobile food vendors with commercial cooking appliances producing smoke or grease shall be required to have a Type 1 hood and be protected by an approved fire protection system. The hood and fire protection system shall be maintained as per current fire code requirements.

(e)    Mobile food vendor vehicles that are used for cooking and selling food shall be subject to an annual inspection by local fire officials prior to renewal of the annual business license. Any deficiencies will need to be corrected prior to issuance of a license. The business shall not operate until all deficiencies are corrected and reinspected.

(f)    Violations of this section will subject the business owner/operator to citation, as provided in Section 4.04.110.

(g)    No business from a vehicle or other portable conveyance as a stationary vendor shall be conducted on Main Street (except for temporary fireworks stands permitted under Chapter 5.16). (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1399 § 1, 2014: Ord. 1285 § 1 (part), 2008: Ord. 1267 § 1, 2008).

4.04.097 Stationary vendor standards.

All stationary vendors licensed under this chapter shall conform to the following standards:

(a)    No stationary vendor shall be licensed for a location in a residential zone;

(b)    Stationary vendors shall be licensed only at those sites on which there is a permanent business operating and licensed;

(c)    No stationary vendor shall locate his or her vehicle, other conveyance, or temporary stand within twenty feet of any public right-of-way or within twenty feet of the intersection of any public right-of-way and private driveway;

(d)    No signs or signage shall be permitted other than that which can be contained on the vehicle or conveyance utilized to sell food; and shall comply with the city sign regulations;

(e)    No vehicle, other conveyance or temporary stand shall be located closer than twenty feet from any building or structure on the licensed property or adjoining property;

(f)    No vehicle, other conveyance or temporary stand shall locate closer than fifty feet from flammable combustible liquid or gas storage and dispensing structures;

(g)    All stationary vendors shall place at least one thirty-gallon garbage receptacle upon the site of business for customer use;

(h)    Licensed stationary vendor sites shall be cleaned of all debris, trash and litter at the conclusion of daily business activities;

(i)    All merchandise, goods, wares or food shall only be displayed or offered for sale from the vendor’s conveyance;

(j)    All vehicles, other conveyances or temporary stands shall be equipped with at least one 2A-40 BC fire extinguisher;

(k)    No stationary vendor shall be licensed to locate a vehicle, other conveyance, or temporary stand within one thousand feet from another stationary vendor;

(l)    No stationary vendor may be licensed at a location if their vehicle, conveyance or temporary stand diminishes required off-street parking for the permanent business licensed on the site. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1285 § 2, 2008).

4.04.100 Consent to inspections and searches.

Every person who obtains a business license hereunder agrees to subject their place of business whether it be a building, room, cart, stand, vehicle, or stock of merchandise to inspection by the city, county, fire district, health department and state officials with jurisdiction to enforce health, safety, occupational and tax laws. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1186 § 2 (part), 2004).

4.04.110 Violation—Penalty.

Any person operating a business, service, or trade without a license, as required herein, shall be deemed to have committed a civil infraction and shall be subject to payment of a C-12 penalty together with all penalties and assessments for each violation. Each separate day of operation without a business license is deemed a separate violation. This penalty is in addition to any other remedies available to the city, such as provided in Section 12.36.010. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1385 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1186 § 2 (part), 2004).

4.04.120 Revocation of license.

(a)    The permits and licenses issued pursuant to this chapter may be revoked by the clerk’s office, after notice to the licensee and an opportunity for the licensee to respond, for any of the following causes:

(1)    Any fraud, misrepresentation or false statement contained in the application for license;

(2)    Any fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made in connection with the selling of goods, wares, or merchandise;

(3)    Any violation of this chapter;

(4)    Any operation of a place of business in violation of the provisions of the zoning regulations of the city contained in this code;

(5)    Conviction of the licensee of any felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;

(6)    Conducting the business licensed under this chapter in any unlawful manner or in such a manner as to constitute a breach of the peace or to constitute a menace to the health, safety or general welfare of the public;

(7)    Failure of the licensee, or any other person occupying the location where the licensee operates, to pay, submit or provide before the established due date any payment, report, or submittal required by this code or any other law applicable to the licensee; or

(8)    Lack of certificate of occupancy of use.

(b)    Appeal of Denial or Revocation. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the city clerk in regard to the denial of application for license or in connection with the revocation of a license, as provided for in this chapter, shall have the right to appeal to the city administrator. Such appeal shall be taken by filing a written notice of appeal with the city clerk within ten days of the decision of the clerk to deny or revoke the license. The city administrator shall set the time and place for a hearing on such appeal and notice of such hearing shall be given to such applicant. The decision of the city administrator on such appeal shall be final. (Ord. 1522 § 2 (part), 2018: Ord. 1186 § 2 (part), 2004).