The Charlottesville Planning Commission is considering capping people at three yard sales per year—charging you $5 for a permit for every time you hold one—Jenn McDaniel writes for NBC-29. Director of Neighborhood Development Jim Tolbert says that the need for this arises from people buying and reselling stuff every weekend, running an ongoing business out of their residentially-zoned front yard. Julia Glendening at Charlottesville Tomorrow provides a whole lot more detail. Two of the cited reasons to enact this requirement are that yard sales often result in large numbers of signs being posted around the neighborhood (which the city ends up having to take down weeks later) and that the folks abusing the yard sale concept are basically running an illegal business. Planning commissioners raised the sorts of objections one would expect: this is an onerous regulation of an activity that’s part of a healthy local economy, people can’t be expected to actually bother getting a permit, and that perhaps there are better ways to deal with this problem. Also, since posting signs in the right-of-way is already illegal, as is running a business without a license, it’s probably best to use existing legal processes to deal with habitual offenders, rather than passing a new law to stop people from doing things that are already illegal.
The Planning Commission has asked staff to study up on this and report back in a few months.