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A. Notwithstanding the requirements contained in this ordinance, a retailer may not collect a pass-through charge from anyone with a voucher or electronic benefits card issued under programs including, but not limited to, Women Infants and Children (WIC); Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as Basic Food; and the Washington State Food Assistance Program (FAP).

B. Food banks and other food assistance programs are exempt from the requirements of this chapter.

C. The Mayor or designee may exempt a retail establishment from the requirements of this chapter for up to a one (1) year period, upon a written request by the retail establishment showing that the conditions of this chapter would cause undue hardship. An “undue hardship” shall only be found in:

1. Circumstances or situations unique to the particular retail establishment, such that there are no reasonable alternatives to single-use plastic carryout bags or a pass-through charge cannot be collected; or

2. Circumstances or situations unique to the retail establishment, such that compliance with the requirements of this chapter would deprive a person of a legally protected right.

D. If a retail establishment requires an exemption beyond the initial exemption period, the retail establishment must reapply prior to the end of the exemption period and must demonstrate continued undue hardship as to why the exemption should be extended. Extensions may only be granted for intervals not to exceed one (1) year.

E. An exemption request shall include all information necessary for the City to make its decision, including, but not limited to, documentation showing the factual support for the claimed exemption. The Mayor or designee may require the applicant to provide additional information to permit the City to determine facts regarding the exemption request.

F. The Mayor or designee may, in his or her sole discretion, approve the exemption request, in whole or in part, with or without conditions.

G. Exemption decisions are effective immediately. A party aggrieved by a final decision concerning the request for an exemption may appeal or seek review of the decision in accordance with applicable law. Unless another period of time applies under applicable law or court rule, an appeal of the decision must be filed within twenty-one (21) calendar days from the date the final decision was served personally or placed in the United States mail, postage prepaid and properly addressed.

H. The City Council may, by resolution, establish a fee for exemption requests. The fee shall be sufficient to cover the costs of processing the exemption request. (Ord. 2360, 2019)