A proposed change in the yard sale code drew raspberries from the Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday.
Most of the commissioners felt there would be too much restriction if the text amendment were to be approved. They not only took issue with removing an allowance for off-site directional signs but also a limitation of four sales per year that had been in the code since 2005.
Commissioner Dan Frank said he didn’t think the amendment fixed the code enforcement problem described at the meeting by Rodolfo Lopez, deputy director of the city’s Economic and Community Development Department.
The commission voted 6-1 to reject the text amendment. Only Jim Irving supported the change, saying there had to be a baseline in place before the rest of the conversation could happen.
“Without that baseline you can still do whatever you want,” Irving said. “You have to have an amendment and do the education after you have something.”
Lopez said code enforcement officers were having to clean up yard sale signs almost every weekend. Code already does not allow signs to be placed in rights of way, on sidewalks, on traffic posts, on stop signs, on utility poles or boxes, on mailboxes, in medians or in “visibility triangles.” Legally, the only place where yard sale signs may be posted is on private property, he said.
“We’re trying to give more enforcement power to our code enforcement officers, to be more specific,” Lopez said.
He added there is no permitting process necessary for a yard sale or garage sale. The situation, he said, has reached its peak and become blight.
“I think any type of further restriction goes against the core values of good citizen-led government,” Commissioner Joshua Babb said. “Garage sales are a natural part of life. If that means the city takes on a couple extra hours of code enforcement officers cleaning up every Monday morning, then the city does that as a good city, and we move on with life. We continue to do that as a city, and we burden that cost as a city.”
He said the City should work with the community to improve education about the current code on proper placement of signs. He suggested code enforcement officers go out on heavy garage sale days and talk with homeowners about signage.
Commissioner Ted Yocum said the City should be communicating with homeowner’s associations about educating their residents about city code, as most have their own regulations.
Commissioner Sandy Hopkins said the proposed change would not create a warm and inviting community. She suggested the city institute a permitting process, perhaps charging $10 for a weekend sale, to help offset the cost of cleanup.
Chair Linda Huggins said she did not agree with the limit of four sales per year. “I don’t think that’s a good number,” she said.
The issue eventually goes to Maricopa City Council.