Toccoa Approves Yard Sale Ordinance After Changes

Toccoa City Commissioners enact a yard sale ordinance, but not before making some changes to the initial proposal.

Monday, Toccoa City Commissioners unanimously approved a yard sale ordinance.

However, it is not the same ordinance that commissioners first looked at last month.

The ordinance approved Monday still limits yard sales to property where there is a house, apartment, or other structure utilized primarily for residential purposes and prohibits yard sales on vacant lots, lots with vacant houses, and lots where there is a structure used mainly for any use other than residential purposes, like commercial properties.

However, the ordinance does not limit the number of yard sales a city resident can have at his or her home and it does not require a city resident to obtain a permit before having a yard sale.

That is after city commissioners agreed to remove those requirements from the ordinance.

Toccoa City Commissioner Gail Fry said the change comes after receiving feedback on the proposed ordinance from the public.

“The main bone of contention with everybody does seem to be the commercial properties on Big A Road and Currahee (Street),” said Fry. “We had people call and say ‘This lady next door to me is having a yard sale every week. She has one every day.’ That is why we talked about initially (limiting yard sales to) four times a year and all that, but listening to people right now, if it is okay, right now we can just address commercial properties.”

Other commissioners said they feel the change to the ordinance represents a good compromise.

“I am pleased that this particular ordinance has taken out residential requirements,” said City Commissioner Terry Carter. “I think we can all agree that our main concerns were what was happening, that developed up and down Big A Road and commercial areas. I think this adequately addresses that without reaching too far into residential sections.”

The ordinance also still includes an exception for religious and charitable 501c3, non-profit organizations. They can have yard sales on the property of the organization or at any other locations within the city with the expressed written consent of the owner of the property where the yard sale is being conducted.

Commissioners did add language stating that any yard sale signs must have the responsible person’s name and phone number on the back of the sign and states signs must be removed within 24 hours after the conclusion of the yard sale.

In addition, the ordinance does prohibit individuals or others from engaging in the business of promoting or conducting yard sales for others for a fee or other consideration.

It also states that no yard sale shall be held on premises other than that of at least one of the persons conducting the yard sale except with the express written consent of the owner of the premises where the yard sale is being conducted.

Finally, the ordinance states no merchandise shall be purchased in anticipation of resale at a yard sale.

The ordinance takes effect immediately after city commissioners waived a second reading of the ordinance.

However, city commissioners agreed to allow a grace period until August 1 during which there would be no fines or penalties for violating the ordinance.

At this time, the yard sale ordinance at this time does not spell out what the penalties will be for violation.