Northwest NEWS

February 21, 2000

Front Page

Council approves business registration

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--Woodinville businesses must register with the city by March 1, 2001, or face substantial civil penalties, according to Ordinance No. 251, approved by the City Council on Feb. 14.

   Unlike business licensing programs, registration will be free, which saves the City administrative costs. Licensing gives the right to conduct business within a jurisdiction, while registration supplies database information to a city.

   Since incorporation in 1993, the City has never had a comprehensive record of Woodinville business composition, according to the City Accounting Clerk Karin Roberts. With the constantly growing, changing nature of the commercial districts, registration will enable the City to better determine how to enhance commercial development and incorporate land use regulations and other City regulations.

   Registration information will allow the City to verify that businesses are using the proper location codes when reporting sales tax receipts. The Permit Center and Fire Dept. will know what goods and services businesses provide, manufacture, or store. The Planning Dept. can make sure businesses meet applicable zoning requirements. The police will have business owners' names and contact information, in case of emergencies.

   All things being equal, the City prefers to buy goods and services from local businesses, said Roberts. The registration database will allow the City to notify owners of upcoming street improvements and other impacts on their businesses. It would also give prospective business owners valuable information about appropriate location of their business in Woodinville.

   Previously proposed penalties have been reduced to $200 for any business that fails to register before March 1 of the applicable year, except those that have already received a "Notice of Violation." After receiving a Notice of Violation from the City Finance Director, businesses will face penalties of $250 for each day or portion of the day that the violation continues. Although the City will make every reasonable effort to mail registration notification to each business, any failure to receive notices will not exempt eligible businesses from penalties.

   Registration also applies to any business located outside city limits that furnishes or performs services within city limits for more than 30 days within a calendar year. Exemptions include: casual or isolated sales events of less than four during a given tax year, such as garage sales; non-profit organizations, such as religious, civic, charitable, cultural, or youth organizations; and minors engaged in such businesses as baby-sitting, newspaper delivery, lawn-mowing, or car-washing. Home occupation permits will be obtained from the Planning Dept., said Roberts.