By John Peters
October 27, 2013
It was good to see the Dobson Board of Commissioners send a proposal to enact yard sale regulations back to town staff for additional work.
The proposal, as presented last week, was for town residents wishing to hold a yard sale to secure a permit from the town and to pay a $10 fee for doing so. The proposal also limited the number of yard sales any household or property owner could hold each year.
The new regulations were a response to some people and organizations holding perpetual yard sales in the town limits, essentially running a business without paying a business fee by claiming it is a yard sale.
That hurts legitimate businesses in the town who secure the necessary permits, contributes to an unsightly appearance in some sections of Dobson, and quite frankly isn’t fair to home owners and groups holding the occasional yard sale.
Some sort of regulation is called for — most municipalities already have some sort of law limiting yard sales.
At the same time we wouldn’t want to see the town residents simply wanting the occasional yard sale be penalized by such regulations.
We might suggest keeping a limit on the number of yard sales which can occur in a given year, while also eliminating the fee, or some combination thereof.
Perhaps allow four yard sales a year, which require a town permit be issued, but charging no fee for the sale. Or maybe allow six or eight such sales a year, the first four of which require a free town permit and the additional sales requiring a fee?
Certainly, there are other alternatives that preserve the right of landowners to hold a sale at their home without too much governmental entanglement while preventing those who want to run de facto businesses disguised as yard sales.