City of Saco, ME
York County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Saco 11-24-1997; amended in its entirety 12-7-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Cable television — See Ch. 78.
Entertainment — See Ch. 93.
Flea markets — See Ch. 104.
Massage establishments — See Ch. 138.
Mass gatherings — See Ch. 139.
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 156.
Petroleum products — See Ch. 159.
Taxicabs — See Ch. 195.
Towers and wreckers — See Ch. 200.

§ 132-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as "Saco Business License and Registration."

§ 132-2 Findings; purpose.

A. 
Over the last several years Saco has seen significant growth in its population as well as the creation and development of new commercial enterprises. The City is poised to expand its industrial park, has pushed its Route 1 sewer line out towards the City's boundary with Scarborough and has recently completed several important infrastructure improvements, including the renovation of City Hall and the building of a new police station.
B. 
During this same time, commerce itself has changed, particularly with the advancement of new, exciting technologies. The old mill industries that dominated Saco's history and landscape have passed, and in their place are new employers and a new business climate dominated by many smaller entrepreneurial businesses producing new products, and particularly providing new services. Many of these businesses are not corporations registered with the state, and some operate via telephone, computer line and modem, etc.
C. 
These changes in Saco's business community can pose problems for Saco's citizens. Businesses are created and can fail rapidly. Often they can be difficult to locate in the event of a problem. Agents for service of process may not exist.  It is the City's intent to assure that the public knows with whom it is dealing when that business operates within the City of Saco and that each business requiring one has received a license. These proposals are advanced for the protection of the residents' health and welfare and to promote stable, lawful business within the City.

§ 132-3 Registration; license required; exemptions.

A. 
All businesses located within the City of Saco which engage in, perform, conduct or otherwise participate in commerce of any kind, and which are not otherwise exempt, must register with the City.
B. 
All businesses located or doing business within the City of Saco which engage in, perform, conduct or otherwise promote a specified business activity must secure a license from the City.
C. 
A "specified business activity" means a trade, service, business, income-generating activity or craft, whether or not intended for profit, which is set out in § 132-13 as a regulated activity requiring a license from the City of Saco. Example: Operating a taxicab is a specific business activity requiring a license and compliance with the other conditions as set forth in Chapter 195.
D. 
To "register" means to complete a business registration form with the Clerk for identification purposes.
E. 
The following entities are exempt from the requirements of this chapter:
(1) 
United States government agencies and departments.
(2) 
United States Postal Service.
(3) 
State of Maine agencies and departments.
(4) 
Nonprofit and charitable entities.
(5) 
Public schools, school administrative districts, school unions and private schools.
(6) 
Churches located within the City.
(7) 
Any entity or individual not otherwise required to file a federal tax return.
F. 
The following are exempt from the registration fee of this chapter but must still register and show proof of due licensing by the State of Maine.
(1) 
Those individuals or entities who secure licenses pursuant to Title 32 of Maine's Revised Statutes (e.g., doctors, lawyers, accountants, optometrists, etc.).
(2) 
Maine corporations which are registered with the Secretary of State and which have an agent for service of process.

§ 132-4 Limitation of activity.

A. 
No person or entity shall engage in, service, practice or operate any specified business activity without having obtained each and every license required herein and shall not operate any time that an applicable license has been suspended or after revocation as provided herein. Any person or entity which engages in, practices, fosters or operates a specified business activity without a license shall be subject to the fines set out in Subsection D below.
B. 
No person or entity located within the City of Saco shall engage in, perform, conduct or otherwise participate in any business or trade without having registered with the City.
C. 
Every registration and/or license shall be exhibited in a conspicuous place on the premises, whenever the person or entity is open to the public and/or engaged in business activity.
D. 
The failure to display at all times a required license and/or registration is a violation of this chapter. Upon discovering that a business, person or entity has not displayed its license or registration, the City by and through its departments and agents shall notice the violation and request compliance with this chapter. If the business, owner or person refuses to correct the violation or repeats the violation after notice, then the business, owner or person shall be subject to a fine of up to $100 for the first day of the offense occurs, up to $200 for the second day, and up to $500 for the third and subsequent days of the offenses, which fines shall be received in a civil action by the City. The violator will also pay the City Solicitor reasonable attorney fees.
[Amended 12-19-2005]

§ 132-5 Licensing authority.

A. 
All licenses shall be issued, denied, suspended or revoked by the City Clerk ("the Clerk") except as expressly provided in this Code.
B. 
All registrations shall be taken, recorded and maintained by the Clerk.
C. 
In the absence of the City Clerk, the City Administrator will assume all authority and responsibility of the Clerk as designated herein.

§ 132-6 Applications.

A. 
All registrations shall be made in writing on a form provided by the Clerk. Each registration shall state the business name, address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail and such additional information as deemed necessary by the Clerk, including each map and lot number from where the business shall operate.
B. 
All license applications shall be made in writing on a form provided by the Clerk. Each application shall state the name and business address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail of each applicant, the license desired, the date of the application, including each map and lot number where the business shall operate, and such additional information as may be deemed necessary in the relevant specific chapter and useful by the Clerk in determining whether such license applied for should be issued.
C. 
Other papers.
(1) 
If the applicant is other than a natural person, the names and addresses of all principal officers and directors, as well as the name and address of the agent for service of process, shall accompany the original application.
(2) 
A statement to the fact that no employee or officer of the City is beneficially interested in the license.
(3) 
Any organization claiming status as a bona fide nonprofit organization shall furnish sufficient evidence of such status.
D. 
Copies of all registrations and licenses shall, upon completion, be transmitted to the Code Enforcement Officer for the following purposes:
(1) 
Review compliance: that said business is permitted to operate in each and every location (map and lot number) where specified; and
(2) 
To record such information into the Code Enforcement Officer  database program ("Code Enforcement Pro") and/or records for future use and review.
E. 
The City of Saco will treat all licenses and registration as public records under Maine law, except no social security numbers or federal tax identification numbers, if collected, will be made available to the public at any time, it being the express intent of the City that such information be kept confidential.

§ 132-7 Fees.

[Amended 4-7-2003]
A. 
The annual registration fee shall be established by the City Council after a public hearing. Each year, registration holders must renew their registration. The fee for such renewal shall be established by the City Council after a public hearing. If a person, business or other entity is engaged in a specified business activity which requires a license, then that person or party shall only pay the license fee described below but shall not be responsible for the registration fee established by the City Council after a public hearing.
B. 
Those fees required for a license shall be spelled out in the chapter regulating the specified business activity, but, if not set forth therein, then the fee per year is as established by the City Council after a public hearing. Those parties who must hold licenses will pay a fee as established by the City Council after a public hearing to renew their license, unless the chapter regulating such activity says otherwise, in which case that chapter shall control.

§ 132-8 Investigation of applications.

A. 
Registration. The Clerk shall accept the registration of a business on its face and maintain such registration as deemed prudent.
B. 
Licenses. Upon receipt of an application for any license or a renewal of license, the Clerk shall inquire of other City departments, as appropriate, for comments as to whether a license may be granted consistently with the provisions of the laws and ordinances enforced by such departments.
C. 
The Clerk has discretion to determine, depending on the specified business activity, which departments of the City must review and comment upon the license application.
D. 
Only upon satisfaction of the Clerk and after review by any appropriate departments, and only upon full compliance with any specific ordinance conditions set forth in the chapter regulating the specified business activity, shall the Clerk issue a license.
E. 
The Clerk shall complete his or her review promptly and grant or deny a license within 21 days.

§ 132-9 Standards for denial, suspension or revocation.

A. 
Grounds. A license, registration or renewal of either may be denied, suspended or revoked upon a determination of the existence of one or more of the following grounds, provided that there be sufficient and substantial incidents warranting denial, suspension or revocation:
(1) 
Failure to fully complete the application forms; knowingly making an incorrect statement of a material nature on such form; or failure to supply any additional documentation required or reasonably necessary to determine whether such license is issuable; or failure to pay any fee required hereunder;
(2) 
The business or persons on the premises of the business have caused one or more significant breaches of the peace;
(3) 
There is a clear danger to the public if the licensed or registered activity is permitted;
(4) 
The business or persons patronizing the business will substantially and adversely affect the peace and quiet of the neighborhood, whether or not residential;
(5) 
The business, owner or entity has violated a provision of this chapter or other ordinance of the City of Saco, including its Zoning Ordinance;
(6) 
The occurrence of any event subsequent to issuance of the license or registration, which event would have been a basis for denial of the registration or license, shall be grounds for revocation thereof;
(7) 
Real or personal property taxes or judgments to the City of Saco are due and owing to the City and are determined to be in arrears as of the date of the license request or registration;
(8) 
The licensee has received more than one public complaint filed with the Clerk; or
(9) 
Such other acts or conduct found to be detrimental to the citizens or community.
B. 
Hearings.
(1) 
Except as expressly provided in this chapter, no license or registration may be revoked or suspended without prior notice to the individual or entity, and after a hearing.
(2) 
In the case of the suspension or revocation of a registration license, a hearing shall be given to the individual or entity and a generalized statement of the nature of the complaint constituting the basis for the proposed action shall be included in the notice of hearing. Failure of the individual or entity to appear at the hearing shall be deemed a waiver of the rights to said hearing.
(3) 
All suspensions or revocations shall be upon substantial evidence, and all hearings shall be conducted with substantial fairness.
C. 
Fairness. The Clerk shall not arbitrarily deny any applicant a registration or license to practice or engage in a specified business activity but must base their decision upon substantial and credible evidence of one or more of the grounds described above, nor shall the Council suspend or revoke a license except upon substantial evidence of violations of the above standards.
D. 
Complaints.
(1) 
Any citizen or public official of the City can file and/or initiate a complaint against a license holder or registered business. Complaints will be kept and maintained by the City Clerk and may be considered when and if a licensee seeks a renewal of their license in the succeeding year.
(2) 
Complaints for suspension or revocation may be initiated by the City Council, the City Administrator or the City Clerk if one or more of the conditions described in § 132-9A exist or if more than one complaint is filed with the Clerk's office by a member of the public.

§ 132-10 Appeals.

A. 
Procedure. An appeal to the City Council may be taken by any person aggrieved by the denial, suspension or revocation of a license by the Clerk by filing a notice of appeal within 30 days of the decision. Every appeal should be in writing and shall state the basis for the appeal. The City Council shall hear the appeal within two weeks after the filing of the appeal and may affirm, reverse or modify the decision appealed from.
B. 
Scope of review. On appeal, the hearing officer shall review the decision of the Clerk and determine whether the decision was based upon substantial evidence and in compliance with the standards of the applicable chapters. The hearing officer may take additional evidence with respect to such decision or action and, if additional testimony or evidence is taken, shall determine the appeal upon all of the evidence, except as provided in this section.
C. 
Status or operations pending municipal appeal. During the pendency of an appeal to the City Council, the person, business or entity aggrieved by the decision of the City Clerk may operate without risk of fine if they have an existing registration or license and the Clerk has suspended, revoked or denied a renewal of the registration or license. However, if the person, business or entity has been denied its initial license or registration, then any operation prior to a decision by the City Council will be subject to the civil penalties set forth herein.
D. 
Appeal to the superior court. Any person aggrieved by the decision on appeal may appeal to the Superior Court in accordance with the provisions of Maine Rule of Civil Procedure 80B.

§ 132-11 Notices of hearing.

A. 
Content. Whenever a hearing is required, the Clerk shall give notice of the time and place of the hearing, the type of license involved and the nature of the hearing and the address or location of the property involved.
B. 
Service. Except as expressly provided, whenever notice by mail is required, such notice shall be mailed by regular United States mail at least five days in advance of the hearing date.

§ 132-12 Registration and license not transferable.

A. 
Registration. No registration may be transferred by any person or entity to any other person or entity.
B. 
License. No license may be transferred by the licensee to any person, business or entity, nor shall any license fee be refunded if the business activity is ceased prior to the expiration of the license.
C. 
Nature of transfer. In all cases arising out of this section in which the Clerk, if required to determine the identity or composition of or ownership interests in an applicant or licensee, or to determine whether a transfer of an ownership interest in an applicant or licensee has taken place, the Clerk shall look to the substance rather than the form of transactions, and any person aggrieved may appeal the Clerk's determination to the City Council.

§ 132-13 Specified activities requiring licenses.

The following is a list of business activities that presently require a license from the City. A license applicant shall follow and must meet the requirements in the applicable chapter.
Cable television — See Chapter 79.
Entertainment — See Chapter 93.
Flea Markets — See Chapter 104.
Flea Market Vendors — See Chapter 104.
Massage Parlors — See Chapter 138.
Mass gatherings — See Chapter 139.
Peddling — See Chapter 156.
Petroleum sales — See Chapter 159.
Taxicabs/Drivers — See Chapter 195.
Towers and wreckers — See Chapter 200.