City Considering Requiring Yard Sale Permits

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.

20 Responses to “City Considering Requiring Yard Sale Permits”

  • A problem with one-party rule is that office holders, elected and appointed, lose sight of the people. Government unchallenged goes to their heads, and the community of citizens becomes nothing more than something to manipulate for the good of government.

    Well-paid people in city hall, (too many, too well-paid?) are trying to get counselors to slit their throats yet again with a horrible blunder.

    Last time it was replacing our free rescue squad with a massively expensive city service so someone could build an empire. Now they want to stride jack-booted around the city policing garage sales.

    Any councilor who votes for this, or even speaks well of it, is in his last term.

  • You got that right reybo. That is way it is actually better to elect independents rather than party affiliates. Independents are much more likely to represent the people who elected them and not just those who belong to the party who paid for their campaign.

    In this case. I’m pleasantly surprised at the planning commissions’ objections.

  • I predict that this will end the same way that the plans to close the McIntire wading pool and softball fields did.

  • Since the city’s zoning inspectors can’t be bothered to look into legitimate serious zoning violations, I seriously doubt they’d be capable of chasing down yard sale scofflaws.

  • I remember a few years ago when I was moving and the city’s Dept. of Neighborhood Overbearing-ment got in my face because I had a PODS unit in my driveway and they said it was a “sign” because it had the PODS logo on it and I had to post a deposit and fill out some forms or they would fine me. True story.

  • Waldo’s right on this one.

    But, I’ve gotta say, why is it that any post on city planning results in a thread of complaining about how NDS is either overbearing or not enforcing zoning enough. Which is it?

    Lot’s of towns, especially more wealthy and left-leaning ones, have yard sale regs. Some charge up to $25 for a permit. I think this is a bad idea, but not something unique to Cville or our system of government.

  • It seems the way to handle problems would be to deal with the few who create problems, like actually running a business in a neighborhood not zoned for it, or who don’t take down their signs afterwards or post them where they should not.
    Being threatened with a fine over a PODS unit in your driveway is over the top, shows just how power-hungry and controlling our local bureaucrats can sometimes be.
    Might add that its not just government bodies though. Homeowners associations and the like have been known to be just as bad as worse when it comes to telling you what you can and can’t do at your own home.

  • Daniel, perhaps you’ve never had to deal with NDS? The results you get frequently depend on who is doing the complaining, and who is committing the violation. And no, it’s not who is polite or nice, it’s who you know and what you represent to them. Powerful and/or business affiliation shoots you to the top of the list.

    And spare me any statements that that’s the way it is everywhere. Doesn’t make it right. We can do better than that.

  • Waldo, the beginning of this post has broken HTML, so it isn’t displaying properly here or at all in the RSS.

  • Thanks, Tim! It was rendering correctly for me in my browser at home last night, but no luck at work today. I sure do wish that broken HTML would just break, rather than working in some browsers and not in others, depending how well their rendering engines cope with bad code.

  • formercvilleresident

    This is a hipocrocy!!!! If this were to happen in Lynchburg or in the surrounding counties(Campbell,Amherst,Bedford,Appomattox) In the next election they’d be voted out or they’d resign. as a matter of fact if that ordinance were here there would be near revolt. If i was in Charlottesville I will be calling for the heads of city Council, Gary O’Connell and every elected and non elected offical. there is a reason i like to have O’connell’s head. He wanted me out of CHS because i told his son what he needed to hear. My message to the leaders in Charlottesville get your head out of the sand or the people will revolt and the city leadership will have blood on your hands.

  • I’m not clear – is the real issue the signage or the sales themselves?

  • Golly, I thought I was disaffected. Om Mani Padme Hum…must remember…I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me (or else).

  • “…buying and reselling stuff every weekend, running an ongoing business out of their residentially-zoned front yard.” Yeah, I’ve got a friend like that. She buys something at a yard sale for $1 and later sell it at her yard sale for $.25 . She’s getting rich.
    Reybo will probably remember that house on the corner of Elliot AV and Monticello RD (I think) that had stuff out in the yard for sale everyday for years. I remember seeing a whole lot of glass items driving by in my car. That was not a yard sale, that was selling in the yard. In the nineties I believe the city closed it and a couple of others calling them a business and had generated neighborhood complaints. The city still has that capacity
    Most people do not use yard sales to conduct a business. They use them to get rid of things while having a social event. Newcomers will have them or go to them simply to meet and socialize with their neighbors. Those people who really have something that they think they may be able to sell at a gain, as in “running a for-profit business” will most likely post it on the web.
    Jim Duncan, it is neither the use of sign nor running a busines, it’s a way of getting some petty cash to fund all of those luncheon and breakfast meetings that NDS has. Since nobody works for $5 an hour, it certainly will not cover the cost of regulatory actions actions taken by any city employee.

  • Concerning DP racism, I asked the oldest surviving news staffer, Alan Bruns, now in his 80s and living in Fredricksburg. Born in Brooklyn and brought up entirely in Howardsville on the James, Alan became a Prog reporter in the 1950s and rose to state editor, the post he had when when Worrell fired him in 1971 to clear out all the higher paid staff.

    I sent Alan the racism post above and this is his reply:

    Always believe the worst about the Prog racial policies. One of our girl reporters caught absolute hell for slipping thru a picture of a black woman with a big smile, name Merry Christmas.

    First black obits were a whole lot later than 1949. One was of a prominent black named Greer who had been county agent for blacks [isn’t his farm now a showplace on outskirts of towm?]

    Clark lindsay [publisher before Lindsay Mount] allowed about one graf obit for Margarita [madam of our most prominent whore house] on grounds she was Indian.

    Ray Bell’s father and IVNA [?]nurse wife of black bap minister used to go down and argue with Clark.

    Even the far distant memories turn my stomach. AND MOST OF THE


  • Segregation was worse than that. Charlottesville had a black owned paper and also the state had a black owned newspaper based in Richmond.

  • I have one word for you: “Rock School.”

    Now if I could just learn to count.

  • I think the Planning Commission also wondered how the rules about yard sales would apply to churches. If churches do not have to pay, maybe they would allow people to have yard sales in their parking lot and let the person keep the $5 if he would agree to clean up the litter.
    It’s getting to the place that any activity that’s not allowed in Farmington or Boar’s Head is to be restricted from the city. Maybe we ought to rename ourselves Greenwich Cape Village Cod.

  • I did notice that this weekend was the first time in months that the usual “yard sale” on 5th Street before Harris Rd. wasn’t set up. Perhaps they were just on vacation.

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