Welcome to the City of Leavenworth! Leavenworth is a tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors each year due to its Old World Bavarian-Alpine theme as well as the abundance and variety of year-round recreational opportunities afforded by the mountains and rivers that surround the city. The purpose of Leavenworth’s Codes as they relate to business (particularly the Old World Bavarian Architectural Theme, Sign, Lighting Standards, and Business Regulations codes), are to protect the public good. For instance, by furthering Leavenworth’s Old World Bavarian-Alpine theme, we all ensure the continued vitality of our economy through an asset which forms the basis for Leavenworth’s thriving tourist industry. The regulations are not intended to prohibit business operations, but enhance the overall character of the city. Compliance with the city’s codes enables businesses to thrive here and forms a key part of the overall attractiveness of the city – thereby contributing to the economic well-being of all residents and business owners in Leavenworth.
If you are thinking about or planning to open a new business in the City of Leavenworth, there is some important information you should know:
Make sure the business is allowed in the Zone District. The City’s Zoning Code regulates the types of businesses which can be established within the various zoning districts. There are three Commercial Zones in the city (Central Commercial, General Commercial, and Tourist Commercial) where most business activity occurs. Depending on your business and requirements for your business, you may need to check with City staff to see if you can locate your business in a zone. Please contact Development Services Staff at 509-548-5275 to discuss your plans. City staff realizes that your business inquiry may be proprietary and exercises the greatest discretion.
Overnight or Vacation Rentals. Overnight, weekend, vacation, or any other type of accommodation rentals which are for a period of less than one month are NOT allowed in any of the Residential Zone Districts of the City or its Urban Growth Area – including Multifamily Residential, RL-6, RL-10, and RL-12 zones. In many cases and where allowed (located in the Commercial districts), homes which become rentals are required to perform physical alterations (such as fire sprinkler systems and parking improvements) to occur and require City licensing. The Washington State Department of Health also regulates overnight rentals. Please visit http://www.doh.wa.gov/ for State licensing requirements. If you have a question regarding use of a property as a rental of less than one month duration, please contact Development Services Staff at 509-548-5275.
Changing the use of an existing building or business space. The City’s Zoning Code regulates the types of businesses which can be established with the various zoning districts. Changing the use of a building or business space (for example changing what was a retail store into a restaurant) may also require review and permitting for items such as building code requirements (exits, occupancy, sprinklers, restrooms, barrier free / ADA compliance, etc), and parking. Please contact Development Services Staff at 509-548-5275 to discuss your plans. A pre-application meeting with the City may be required.
Signage. Signage within the City is regulated by the City’s Sign Code (LMC 14.10). We recommend consulting with our staff or the Design Review Board early in the process of planning your business for developing signage in compliance with Code.
Business Licensing. “Business” includes all activities, occupations, trades, pursuits or professions located and/or engaged in within the City with the object of gain, benefit or advantage to the taxpayer or to another person or class, directly or indirectly. Each business location is a separate business. Different activities, occupations, trades, professions or pursuits, although carried on at a single physical location, are deemed separate businesses, each requiring a separate business license. Such “different activities” shall be determined by the City and shall include, but not be limited to, businesses with differing names and/or signage, businesses in one location with differing owners, and businesses carried on at the same location under the direction of the same business owner which are differing in nature. Examples of types of businesses which require a City license include, but are not limited to:
Please contact City Development Services Department staff if you have any questions about starting a business.
Also find more information at the following links: