Nuisance Yard Sale Ordinance Discussed

Yard Sale 4


Some local residents might have one yard sale a year while their neighbors might conduct one every other week. The Lamar City Council dealt with nuisance or perpetual yard sales during a discussion of city fees and fines proposed for 2016. There was ample discussion during the September 28 work session on the pros and cons of instituting a $5 yard sale fee paid to the city each time a resident held a yard sale. City Administrator, John Sutherland, explained, “We’ve noticed that the on-going yard sales or garage sales are becoming little businesses. People are just having on-going sales forever and ever and sometimes seven days a week and some people just leave their stuff in their yards without putting it away and leave it there until they have a weekend sale. It just junks up a neighborhood.” He explained that if you have one every day it’s a business and you should get a business license.

Mayor Roger Stagner said he didn’t like the idea as being unenforceable and councilmember Kirk Crespin agreed with Lamar Police Chief Kyle Miller, who said, “We’re not doing the fee for any profit, but to regulate the number of yard sales being held.” There is no ordinance that regulates the number of sales a household might have, but one thought was to limit it to six over a calendar year. Sutherland said one idea around creating an ordinance would be to enforce it by a neighborhood complaint. He said it could be treated like a nuisance.

City Attorney, Garth Nieschburg, explained that an ordinance would be required if the city was going to regulate the frequency of yard sales per household. Sutherland said he has copied other communities that use ordinances and the one common factor was they all required permits. Nieschburg said one problem is it’s punitive against people who have to get a permit to hold just one yard sale a year. Sutherland said for that reason, he opted for a nuisance complaint from residents to shut down excessive yard sales. An ordinance without requiring a permit will be drafted for council review before any action is taken. In the meantime, it’s still unlawful to post yardsale handbills on power poles around town.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityFeaturedLamarLaw Enforcement


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