Garage sale dos and don’ts

As the summer heats up, a common scene among local streets are tables full of glassware, books, toys and clothing, all used but sold for a bargain.

Kay Doak, 67, of Marietta, has been going to yard sales for about 10 years.

“I know it’s much harder to have a yard sale than it is to go to one,” she said. “I have found a lot of stuff for theater there. They’re a very good place to get props (and costumes).”

Though many enjoy going to sales and finding hidden treasures, some city ordinances could cut down on the number of treasures people find this year.

Marietta’s ordinances are not new, but after several complaints from residents about long-lasting sales, the ordinances are now going to be strictly enforced, according to city officials.

According to Ordinances 712.02 and 712.03, yard sales in the city limits must be registered with the mayor’s clerk and residents are limited to holding four yard sales each year. Each sale cannot run more than four consecutive days. There is no cost to register with the clerk.

Mayor Joe Matthews said the restrictions are in place to look out for the neighbors of those having yard sales.

“First of all, a lot of people get upset with people who have perpetual yard sales,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of calls about people parking in (neighbors’) driveways.”

Matthews said policing will start immediately.

“This is the season that people start (having yard sales) and that’s why we need to do something before it gets too far out of hand,” he said. “(Police) will probably do drive-bys (to monitor yard sales).”

Those breaking the ordinance repeatedly are subject to a fine and will be charged with a minor misdemeanor, said Matthews, adding that the court would most likely set a fine, which can vary depending on the number of times the ordinances have been broken.

Matthews said the key is to make sure neighbors feel respected.

“Be good to your neighbor, and be nice,” he said. “Treat people the way you want to be treated; that’s no more than fair.”

Lyle Farmer, 82, of Marietta, held a yard sale Friday. He said he’d never heard of the yard sale ordinances and doesn’t feel they’re necessary.

“I’m not in favor of any ordinances for anything,” he said. “I feel if I own the property, I can do whatever I want with it.”

Jane Ritchie, 62, of Marietta, attended the sale with Doak. She said there are pros and cons to the city laws.

“I can see where people who run it all the time (would need to register),” she said. “I wouldn’t want to drag that stuff in every night and out the next morning…I can see where if the city wanted to get the signs down, (an ordinance would be helpful).”

Meredith Morgan, 35, of Marietta, held her first yard sale on Friday, and said she wasn’t aware she had to register with the city.

“I’m not the person who does yard sales all the time,” she said. “I didn’t know there was an ordinance to regulate them.”

Morgan said the ordinances might not be a bad thing for some.

“I guess if I were the person who lived next door to a person who had their stuff out all the time, I’d be upset,” she said. “There’s one on Glendale (Road) that they have frequently but it’s very contained with orange cones to keep people from going into their neighbors’ yards. I think if you’re considerate about it, I don’t see the point (of restrictions).”

Outside Marietta city limits, yard sale rules in other local communities range from none at all to even more restrictive.

In Belpre, fewer sales are allowed and there is a cost to register.

“Ours are $3 (to register) and can run for three consecutive days,” said Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz said. (Residents can’t have) more than three a year.”

Lorentz said the reason behind the restrictions is signage.

“The signs just go up everywhere and right now, they are everywhere,” he said.

Lorentz said most of the time a warning is the only thing needed, but if the rules are broken repeatedly, a police officer may choose to enforce the ordinance, resulting in the resident being charged with a minor misdemeanor.

Kandy Baker, Beverly Council president, said there is no ordinance in Beverly limiting yard sales in any way.

Though Williamstown Mayor Ford said though there aren’t limitations on time or duration of yard sales in that city, there is one place residents can’t have sales.

“(Residents) used to have lots of sales at the corner of Highland and Fifth streets by our park,” she said. “That is something we do not allow…(Other than that) we just let them run free…They can have them whenever they want to for as long as they want to.”

Marietta resident Monica Carhuay likes attending yard sales. She said she sees why people might want restrictions, and also how some might not.

“If you leave it up for days, that’s not nice for your neighbor,” Carhuay said. “But I think they’re good for people to get rid of their stuff in a recycle way; you don’t have to go consume it in a store…It’s a convenient thing.”

Jenny Wince, of Marietta, held a yard sale on Friday and said she’d heard of the ordinances.

“Our neighbor works with the city and she checked things out for us,” she said. “If we have (a yard sale) it’s once a year.”

Marietta resident Mary Maloney said the ordinances for Marietta are fair.

“(Having) four a year is probably not unreasonable,” she said. “I think if they’re well organized and well managed, it’s a good way for people to get rid of things they don’t need. They’re a fun summer thing to do.”