Chapter 5.08
BUSINESS LICENSES

Sections:

5.08.010    Purpose.

5.08.020    Disclaimer of city liability.

5.08.030    Definitions.

5.08.040    Licenses required.

5.08.045    Exemption.

5.08.050    Application – Issuance.

5.08.060    Fee/term.

5.08.070    Renewal/license fee.

5.08.080    Late application penalty fee.

5.08.090    Denial – Cause – Revocation.

5.08.100    Denial – Applicant right to appeal.

5.08.110    Hearing on appeal.

5.08.120    Notice to obtain license – Hearing.

5.08.130    Posting – Inspection.

5.08.140    Transfer – Assignment.

5.08.150    Change in name/address/nature of business.

5.08.160    Rebate.

5.08.170    Multiple businesses.

5.08.180    Same business – Multiple locations.

5.08.190    Revocation – Authority – Notice.

5.08.200    Revocation – Appeal – Hearing.

5.08.210    Service of required notices.

5.08.220    License transactions – Public record.

5.08.230    Repealed.

5.08.240    Violations – Penalties.

5.08.250    Issuance not to excuse violations.

5.08.010 Purpose.

This chapter is an exercise of the police power of the city and is necessary for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Port Townsend, through the regulation of certain types of businesses within the city. The provisions of this chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the power of the city to license, for revenue, the privilege of engaging in business within city limits. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.020 Disclaimer of city liability.

Issuance of any license pursuant to this chapter does not constitute the creation of a duty by the city of Port Townsend to indemnify a licensee for any wrongful acts against the public, or to guarantee the quality of goods, services, or expertise of a licensee, or to otherwise shift responsibility from the licensee to the city of Port Townsend for proper training, conduct or equipment of self or agents, even if specific regulations require standards of training, conduct or inspection. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.030 Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply to all chapters of this title, unless the context of the chapter indicates otherwise:

A. “Business” means a profession, trade, occupation, or activity carried on for a livelihood or engaged in with the object of gain, benefit, or advantage to the participant or to another person or class, directly or indirectly, for profit, but excludes the following:

1. Municipal, state, or federal agencies or employees;

2. A person employed in the city by a person engaged in business in the city, if the employer is licensed pursuant to this chapter to conduct a business in the city; and

3. A person transacting and carrying on a business that is exempt from city licensure under federal or state constitutional or other law.

B. “Business license” means the license provided by this chapter.

C. “City finance director” means the city finance director or his or her designee.

D. “Engaging in business” means the same as “engaging in business” as defined in PTMC 5.04A.030.

E. “Person” means any person, firm, corporation, association, partnership, venture, society, club, association, organization or group of individuals carrying on business within city limits. (Ord. 3206 § 1 (Exh. A), 2018; Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.040 Licenses required.

No person, whether subject to the payment of tax or not, shall engage in any business within city limits without first obtaining and being the holder of a valid and current business license pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The license required by this chapter is in addition to any other license, permit, or authorization required by any other chapter in this title. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.045 Exemption.

The following shall be exempt from compliance with the city business license fee portion of this chapter:

A. A bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization. A “bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization” means any organization for which contributions to such organizations qualify for charitable contribution deduction purposes or which is otherwise exempt from payment of federal income taxes pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code, including Section 501(c)(3). Organizations shall present proof of tax exempt status to the city finance director and shall be required to register with the city finance director and provide all of the information required of a business license applicant.

B. Any person or business whose annual value of products, gross proceeds of sales, or gross income of the business made within the city equal to or less than $2,000 and does not maintain a physical place of business located within city limits; such businesses shall submit a business registration to the city finance director or designee for no fee. The income threshold exemption does not apply to regulatory license requirements or activities that require a specialized permit. (Ord. 3206 § 2 (Exh. B), 2018; Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2807 § 1, 2002).

5.08.050 Application – Issuance.

A. The application for a business license shall be accomplished by submitting a completed master business application and any appropriate addenda, and all required fees, including the handling fee authorized by RCW 19.02.075, to the State of Washington Department of Licensing’s Master License Service.

B. The city finance director may reject an application or postpone its issuance when a material falsification of the application is evident.

C. The city finance director, prior to issuance of a business license to any applicant, shall, with the assistance of the development services department (DSD), determine that the location of the business as disclosed by the applicant’s proposed business address is properly zoned for the conduct of the business for which the license is sought; provided, however, that it is the duty of the applicant to assure that the location of the proposed business complies with the zoning and all other ordinances of the city, and in the event that it fails to so comply, any license issued, granted or approved by the city shall be null and void, and the city shall not be liable for any loss, claim or damages whatsoever by reason of the applicant or the business for which a license was issued failing to comply with said ordinances, and regardless of whether a business license was in fact issued.

D. After receipt of a completed application and the license fee, the city finance director shall review the application and, except as otherwise provided, issue or deny the license within 10 working days after receipt of the completed application.

E. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the city finance director or any other authorized city official from requiring the applicant to provide any information necessary to ascertain whether the applicant is, or will be, in compliance with all city ordinances or state laws. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2892 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.060 Fee/term.

A. Fee. Unless otherwise provided by this chapter, the required license fee for a business shall be as follows:

Businesses reporting gross receipts equal to or more than $100,000

$75 per year

Businesses reporting gross receipts equal to or more than $20,000 and less than $100,000

$75 per year

Businesses reporting gross receipts less than $20,000

$30 per year

Fee calculations shall be based either on the previous year’s gross receipts (minus deductions allowed under PTMC 5.04A.100) or on the business’s estimated gross receipts for the license year.

This fee is nonrefundable, whether or not the application is later denied. The license fee may be prorated to accommodate the expiration date established by the Master License Service. The full fee payable shall include the Master License Service application handling fee authorized by RCW 19.02.075.

B. Term. Unless otherwise provided by this chapter, a license shall expire on the date established by the Master License Service. (Ord. 3184 § 3 (Exh. C), 2017; Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2887 § 1, 2004; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.070 Renewal/license fee.

A. All licenses must be renewed through the Master License Service on or before the expiration date established by the Master License Service. Full fees due, including the Master License Service renewal handling fee authorized by RCW 19.02.075, must accompany the renewal.

B. If the license is not renewed by the expiration date, the Master License Service late renewal penalty fee authorized by RCW 19.02.085 may be assessed. If the license is not renewed within 120 days after its expiration, the license shall be cancelled and be null and void. A business with a cancelled license must reapply for a license in order to continue to conduct business in the city. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010).

5.08.080 Late application penalty fee.

If a person who is required to obtain a license fails or neglects to obtain a license within 15 days from the date he or she engages in business in the city, the finance director shall collect a penalty of 10 percent of the annual license fee for each calendar month or portion of a month the person conducted business without a license. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.090 Denial – Cause – Revocation.

A. Compliance with Any Other Code and Zoning Provisions. The city finance director shall not issue a city business license, and any license so issued shall be void and subject to immediate revocation by the city, to any person, firm or entity which operates or proposes to operate or conduct any business in violation of PTMC Title 17. In addition, the city finance director may deny any application for a business license where the applicant is not in compliance with all other city ordinances or state statutes, as now or later amended.

B. Other Reasons for Denial. In addition, if, after investigation, the city finance director finds that the applicant has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude or other crime which relates to the activity for which the license is sought or finds good reason to believe that issuance of a license to the applicant would be otherwise adverse to or unreasonably jeopardize the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of the city of Port Townsend, the city finance director may deny the application. The city finance director shall, upon denial, inform the applicant in writing of the reason for denial, citing any applicable ordinance or statute violated; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing any duty or obligation on the city to conduct an investigation prior to granting a business license under this chapter. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.100 Denial – Applicant right to appeal.

Any applicant denied a license by the city finance director may make written appeal to the hearing examiner within 25 days following the date of the decision. Any and all such appeals shall be subject to the procedures established in Chapter 1.14 PTMC, and shall be accompanied by a $25.00 filing fee. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.110 Hearing on appeal.

A. Within 30 days following receipt of an appeal, the hearing examiner shall hold a public hearing to determine whether the appellant is entitled to a license under PTMC 5.08.050 and/or 5.08.090.

B. After the close of the public hearing, the hearing examiner shall either grant the license, or sustain the denial. The hearing examiner shall make findings and conclusions in writing.

C. Any decision, finding or ruling made pursuant to this chapter shall be final at the time the final order or decision is issued in written form, and no action to set aside or modify the final order or decision shall be brought in superior court unless the action shall be filed within 30 days from the effective date of such decision, finding or ruling. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.120 Notice to obtain license – Hearing.

If the city finance director has reason to believe that a person is doing business in the city without first having obtained a business license, the city finance director shall mail a notice to that person requiring the person to apply to the Master License Service within 10 days of the issuance of the notice. Any such person who believes he or she is not subject to licensing under this chapter shall provide whatever information or rationale supports this belief to the city finance director for review. If the city finance director determines that the person is required to be licensed under this chapter and the person does not agree with the decision, the person may request a hearing before the hearing examiner as specified in PTMC 5.08.100 and 5.08.110. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.130 Posting – Inspection.

A business license shall be conspicuously posted at the business for which it was issued, and shall be produced for inspection upon the request of any authorized city official; provided, however, that when the licensee has no permanent place of business, such person must either carry or attach and conspicuously display the license on any personal property which is an integral part of the business, and must produce the license for inspection upon the request of any authorized city official. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.140 Transfer – Assignment.

No license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall be transferable or assignable; provided, that in the event of death of the licensee, the surviving spouse, estate, or other heir may operate the business under the existing license for the remaining term of the license. In the event of the sale, transfer, conveyance or gift of a business, the new owner shall be required to apply for and obtain a license prior to commencing to conduct a business in the city. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.150 Change in name/address/nature of business.

A change in the name or address of the business may require filing a new application through the Master License Service. The owner shall notify the Master License Service or city finance director of the change within 30 days. A change in the nature of the business requires a new application and license. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.160 Rebate.

No rebate is allowed. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.170 Multiple businesses.

Any person engaged in two or more separate businesses at the same or separate locations shall be required to obtain a license for each separate business. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.180 Same business – Multiple locations.

Any person conducting the same business at two or more permanent locations shall be required to obtain a separate license for each place of business. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.190 Revocation – Authority – Notice.

The city finance director is authorized to revoke the license of any person, when there is a reasonable belief that the business is being conducted in violation of any city ordinance or any state statute, unless such decision is preempted by state law. The city shall secure the license and post notice of revocation of the license on the premises. Written notice of the revocation of the license shall be given to the license holder, citing the reason for revocation. Conducting business after notice is given of revocation of the license is unlawful. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.200 Revocation – Appeal – Hearing.

Upon notice, the licensee shall have 25 days to appeal the revocation to the hearing examiner subject to the procedures established in Chapter 1.14 PTMC, and the payment of a $25.00 filing fee. At the public hearing, the licensee may present testimony as to his/her compliance with the state statutes or city ordinance which he/she has allegedly violated. After the close of the public hearing, the hearing examiner may sustain the revocation of the license, reinstate the license with conditions, reinstate the license after a time certain, or immediately reinstate the license. The hearing examiner shall make written findings and conclusions. The licensee shall have a right to appeal to superior court as set forth in PTMC 5.08.110(C). (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.210 Service of required notices.

Any written notice required by this chapter to be given to any licensee or applicant shall be sent by ordinary mail to the address of the licensee or applicant as shown on the license application. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.220 License transactions – Public record.

The city finance director shall keep a record of each person licensed to transact and carry on a business within the city. The records shall include appropriate information concerning the action of the city finance director in rejecting an application for a license, or in postponing the issuance of a license, and the action of the hearing examiner regarding a license. All such records are public records to the extent consistent with state and federal law. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.230 Business licenses issued under prior ordinance.

Repealed by Ord. 3040. (Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.240 Violations – Penalties.

A. Director’s Authority. Whenever the finance director or his or her designee (“director”) determines that a condition exists in violation of this chapter or any standard required to be adhered to by this chapter, or in violation of any permit issued hereunder, he or she is authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

B. Chapter 1.20 PTMC Applicable. All violations of any provision of this chapter or incorporated standards, or of any permit or license issued hereunder, are declared nuisances and made subject to the administration and enforcement provisions of Chapter 1.20 PTMC, including any amendments, and including but not limited to abatement, criminal penalty, and civil penalty as set forth in Chapter 1.20 PTMC, which are incorporated by reference as if set forth herein. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2952 § 3, 2008; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).

5.08.250 Issuance not to excuse violations.

Any business license issued, granted or approved in violation of the provisions of this title, or of any other ordinances of the city, shall be null and void and of no effect without the necessity of any proceedings for a revocation or nullification thereof, and the conduct of any business under such license is unlawful, and no action shall be taken by any officer or employee of the city purporting to validate any such violation. (Ord. 3043 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 3040 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 2460 § 1, 1995).