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Palm Coast Will Require Garage Sales to Be Registered and Pay $5 Fee to Ensure Tracking

| August 28, 2012

Some Palm Coast City Council members consider garage sales nuisances, when they begin to be chronic features of certain lots. The city is taking stronger tracking measures. (Palm Coast)

Palm Coast is about to change the rules controlling garage sales. Soon, you will no longer be allowed to have a garage sale without registering it with the city, enabling city government to track the frequency and locations of your garage sales. That’s to ensure that certain rules already in place arte better followed, city officials say.

If you live in Palm Coast, you are already limited to two garage sales per year, per lot. You can only have a garage sale for two consecutive days, and only between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Those rules are in the city’s code.

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They’re not necessarily followed. By 8 a.m., garage sale connoisseurs will tell you that the best hunting is already over: most garage sales break out the goods at dawn. Also, the Palm Coast administration believes that there’s enough of a problem with residents holding more than two garage sales per lot within a calendar year that it’s time to regulate them further.

“What we’re proposing is a way that we can better track these garage sales,” Nestor Abreu, community development director said, “and ensure that they are no more than twice a year and are consistent with all the other things that are already in our code.” The city, he said, saw “an opportunity to make this program more than just a bureaucratic how-do-we-better-manage-it, but see how better we can do to improve garage sales.”

For example, you will no longer be able to have as many garage sales as you please by ignoring the ordinance’s limit. You will not be allowed to have a garage sale without registering it with city government ahead of time. You will be required to pay a $5 fee for each sale. The garage sale will be listed on the city’s website. It will help treasure hunters, the city believes, and make the operation more efficient. People holding garage sales will be allowed to list, on their website listing through the city, certain items they’re putting up for sale. It will also give the city documented evidence of where and when any lot will have held a garage sale, thereby presumably eliminating the possibility that a homeowner will claim innocence when confronted with the charge that he or she is on a third or fourth garage sale within a calendar year.

The city will make it easy. You can apply online or by phone, and make payments either online, by phone, at city offices or through your utility fee.

frank meeker palm coast city council

Frank Meeker. (© FlaglerLive)

The city will also give you its own, branded garage-sale sign (with Palm Coast’s “find your Florida” logo in the upper-left corner), with the given address printed on the sign. The city is not requiring you to have its own signs, however, but it’s still prohibited to post your garage-sale signs anywhere beyond your own lot. All those garage sale signs on utility posts, in right-of-ways, on fences? Illegal. Those who break the rules face citations from the code enforcement department.

But it’s not as if having a garage sale without telling the city will get you in trouble, if and when found out. Assuming you’re having a sale and a code enforcement officer sees it, the officer will register it on the spot rather than issue any sort of citation—unless, of course, there’s documented evidence that there’s been more than two garage sales on that lot.

“I’m not that crazy about it being permitted,” Frank meeker, the council member, said. “Those that want to hold three or four, we can catch them through code enforcement anyway.” Meeker wanted tracking limited to either code enforcement taking note of garage sales, or through neighbors’ accumulating complaints. Jim Landon, the city manager, said the city prefers to call the system a registration, not a permit. Other council members disagreed with Meeker, saying the tracking mechanism was key.

“I personally can’t see why this would be objectionable to anybody unless you want to talk about the $5,” Landon said.

Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, DeLand, and Port Orange, among Palm Coast’s neighbors, all have a registration process, though some allow for three garage sales as opposed to two.

Jason DeLorenzo. (© FlaglerLive)

Jason DeLorenzo. (© FlaglerLive)

“We currently pick up 500 illegal garage sale signs a month,” council member DeLorenzo, who’s pushed the hardest for stronger garage sale regulations, said. “We’re spending a ton of money on code enforcement every weekend, going out and cleaning up all this stuff. What it does, if you drive around town, just go near a stop sign, telephone poles, they’re littered with stuff falling down, right? We’re giving the citizens the opportunity to go this way, but have maps, advertising, everything to get them to the house that has successful garage sales, save the rest of the citizens who are not interested in garage sales a lot of money because we’re not doing as much code enforcement clean-up on the weekends, and we’re protecting our neighborhoods from having multiple garage sales, which cause traffic conditions and people ins swales.”

The city can still make garage sales more convenient for treasure hunters now, with the proposed registration process, Meeker said—as long as it wasn’t mandatory. But his argument carried little weight as other council members, including DeLorenzo and Bill Lewis, termed garage sales a “nuisance.”

“It’s all about enforcement,” Landon said. “People who are holding one garage sale every five years, this isn’t about them. Only thing this does for them is provide the resources there to help people find their location. What this does though is when you have the people who do it on a regular basis, you now can go to your code board and say, they did not have a permit and they’re violating the ordinance, versus well, they didn’t register, registration is voluntary.” It makes it “much cleaner when you have something you’re trying to enforce through a formal process to say permit or not permit,” Landon added.

To Bill McGuire, another council member, the problem is traffic: often people stop in middle of streets to shop at their garage sales. The proposal doesn’t address that problem. But he wasn’t opposed to the permitting and registration process.

“You can argue, oh my god it’s more government, more big brother, blah blah blah,” Mayor Jon nets said. “On the other hand it’s the only way the city can deal with what appears to be a legitimate problem.”

The council will vote on the new ordinance at its next meeting, on Tuesday, Sept. 4, giving the public a chance to weigh in, though the council’s votes for it appear to be a lock.

Other than DeLorenzo’s anecdotal number of garage sale signs every weekend, the city, while looking to document residents’ garage-sale habits, provided no documented evidence of its own of the extent of what it presented as a problem.

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47 Responses for “Palm Coast Will Require Garage Sales to Be Registered and Pay $5 Fee to Ensure Tracking”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Is this what’s important to our City Council ? No wonder only 5% vote. If the the city is so riled up about Garage Sales an d folks mowin their yard, I suggest that each section of Palm Coast form it’s own home owners association and let us monitor ourselves. The last thing we need is another fee, tax or someone down at city hall being paid to do this task. The City has a lot bigger fish to fry than to be concern about this. We need smaller city city government, and keep the city out of it. Such a waste.


  2. Anonymous 2 says:

    Theres other ways to post you garage sale that is hard for them to catch social sites(dont want to name on here) in palm coast and you can use messaging for your address…. and why are they putting so much money into trying to track garage sales when our schools need money or they could put in towards the storm water fees and it wouldnt have too go up 46%!!!!!


  3. David B says:

    Once again our elected official are making something like this an issue. I think it’s about time that each section of Palm Coast forms its own homeowners association and start monitoring ourselves. We don’t need the city to tell us how many garage sales to have. or when to mow our yards. This is such a waste of taxpayers money. The emphasis is to have a smaller city government, and less involvement in how to run our neighborhoods. This should be left up to the neighborhoods homeowner association to have rules and regulations.The City has far bigger fish to fry.


    • ryan says:

      Just leave people alone who have garage sales. Let;s worry about crime instead. Homeowner’s associations tend to take advantage of their power and allows neighbors to walk around with a pen and pad and nit pick people to death, same thing the city is doing, so they are the last thing we need.


  4. Maryann says:

    Who’s regulating the political signs that are STILL up? And they are worried about garage sale signs. I half agree with this process. Registering the garage sale – fine. Two a year – fine. Listing on the website – fine. Issuing the signs – fine. However – Let the person put the signs up around the block on the main road, etc. Their address is on the sign. When they are not down, another $5 fine. Otherwise, give THEM the opportunity to retreive them. I don’t see a single politician taking their ugly signs down. Why are we spending so much ridiculous time on garage sale rules and regulations? It’s hard times on some – this could be some of their means to eat.


  5. Joan Benish Binder says:

    Its one more example of government control .. And i agree about the campaign signs all over town looking trashy.. But that is acceptable?


  6. Anonymous says:

    I have lived in palm coast for over one year and I go to garage sales. I am not sure who came up with the two a year. Is this some magical number? Doubtful! . Traffic is very seldom a problem that I have witnessed. We do not park in the middle of the street blocking traffic, we pull to the side without going into the grass leaving the street open. Most that have garage sales are moving out of palm coast, even out of florida, having a garage sale lets them make a little money but it also keeps items out of the landfill. Maybe the council should do some fact finding before they enact a law. Make people responsible for removing their sign, if they don’t then give them a fine. How much money is spent paying someone on the weekend (is that overtime or time and a half), wasting fuel to remove signs is a waste in itself.


  7. tulip says:

    Here’s an idea—-Residents are allowed to have 2 yard sales a year. Let the resident get a FREE permit for each of the 2 yard sales. After that, if someone wants to go over the limit charge a $100 fee. That would stop a lot of it, and give the honest ones a break.


  8. Geezer says:

    Our bully government at work!


  9. ryan says:

    Those evil people that abuse having garage sales. What a joke! It doesn’t ruin the neighborhoods. I say if these people want to nit pick people to death, move to a homeowner’s association neighborhood where they can walk around with a pen and pad and make up lies to get people fined.

    You can thank our city council and their solidarity with our scam artist redevelopment agencies. That is why the infrastructure has gone to hell and why some of our shopping centers are almost ghost towns. Most of the tax revenue goes to these agencies. This is more of that up north type of complaining which has led to the policies that have rendered our town with such a “not welcome” atmosphere and businesses fleeing.


  10. ryan says:

    Also, sometimes people cannot sell everything in one weekend, so they try again the next weekend, and if that makes the difference between food or keeping the power bill paid or not, this rule would screw them.


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