Home Occupation Permit

A business conducted in a residential building in the City limits (home occupation) is subject to standards set forth in Vancouver Municipal Code (VMC) 20.860, and may be subject to a one-time Home Occupation Permit fee ($122.02 effective January 1, 2014).  See VMC 20.860, or page 2 of the Business License Application, or the following summary for the home occupation standards and to determine if you are, or are not, exempt from the Home Occupation Permit fee.

Scenario A - Exempt from Home Occupation Permit Fee; development standards:

The home occupation occupies less than 25% of the residence (up to 1,000 square feet of combined space), has no customer visits, and no on-site retail sales.  Also, the home occupation development standards listed in Scenario B still apply.

Scenario B - Not Exempt from Home Occupation Permit fee; development standards:
  1. Home Occupation must be clearly subordinate to the residential use of the property and will not be detrimental or disruptive in terms of appearance or operation to neighboring properties.
  2. A current and valid City of Vancouver Business License is maintained or, if applicable, a valid City business license exemption (Determination of Exemption Checklist) is on file at the City's Business License section of the Financial & Management Services Department.
  3. Not more than 25% of the combined floor space of the main and accessory buildings or 1,000 square feet (whichever is less) may be used for business activities.  (A floor plan indicating the area to be used for the business must be submitted with the Business License Application.)
  4. Two nonresident employees are permitted (off-street parking must be provided).  The person providing the business must reside within the dwelling.
  5. Retail sales are prohibited except when the product to be sold is clearly incidental to the services authorized (not permitted with Scenario A).
  6. Signage - one door nameplate or freestanding sign not to exceed 2 square feet is permitted (see VMC 20.860 for more details).
  7. The combined total number of customers and business visitors associated with home occupations shall be limited to no more than 6 per day.
  8. No commercial vehicles allowed associated with home occupations.
  9. All other criteria outlined in VMC 20.860.

If you are exempt (Scenario A), and you are applying for a Business License, download and complete the (1) Business License Application and (2) Surcharge Worksheet, and submit them with the appropriate license fees through the mail (City of Vancouver, PO Box 8995, Vancouver, WA 98668), or in person (City Hall, 415 W 6th St, Vancouver WA 98660).  No Home Occupation Permit fee is required under this scenario.

If you are exempt (Scenario A), and you are claiming a License Exemption, download and complete the (1) Business License Application and (2) Determination of Exemption Checklist, and submit them through the mail (City of Vancouver, PO Box 8995, Vancouver, WA 98668), or in person (City Hall, 415 W 6th St, Vancouver WA 98660).  No Home Occupation Permit fee is required under this scenario.

If you are not exempt (Scenario B), and you are applying for a Business License, download and complete the (1) Business License Application and (2) Surcharge Worksheet, and submit them with the appropriate license fees plus Home Occupation Permit fee through the mail (City of Vancouver, PO Box 8995, Vancouver, WA 98668), or in person (City Hall, 415 W 6th St, Vancouver WA 98660).

If you are not exempt (Scenario B), and you are claiming a License Exemption, download and complete the (1) Business License Application and (2) Determination of Exemption Checklist, and submit them with the Home Occupation Permit fee only through the mail (City of Vancouver, PO Box 8995, Vancouver, WA 98668), or in person (City Hall, 415 W 6th St, Vancouver WA 98660).

The Community and Economic Development Department reviews all applications for Home Occupation Permits and determines if there are any fire, zoning, building, or other restrictions.  For questions regarding Home Occupation Permits, call (360) 487-7800 or drop by the Community Development Department Permit Center at the 415 W 6th Street, Vancouver, WA 98660.  Business hours for the Permit Center are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 8:00 am-12:30 pm and 1:30 pm-4:00 pm, and Wednesday 9:00 am-12:30 pm and 1:30 pm-5:00 pm.

Note that Business License/Home Occupation Permit applications and fees cannot be accepted at the Permit Center.  They must be mailed to the address on the form or dropped off at City Hall, Customer Service Desk, 415 W 6th St, Vancouver WA 98660.