Albion debates how to limit ‘perpetual garage sales’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Proposal to limit to 3 days a week fails

ALBION – The Village Board wants to stop some residents from having “perpetual” garage sales, saying the daily sales aren’t fair to some neighbors, other businesses and can be unsightly.

But the five-member board isn’t sure how to best solve the problem with legislation. During a public hearing on Wednesday, one resident there shouldn’t be any restrictions on garage sales while another urged the board to rein in the sales.

“These sales have graduated to boats, cars, motorcycles, tread mills and furniture,” the resident said. “They’re really out of the scope of what a true garage sale is.”

The board considered a proposal to limit the sales to no more than Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Trustees Eileen Banker and Pete Sidari voted for it, but the proposal failed to reach a majority.

Banker said residents with frequent sales don’t pay sales tax or property taxes for a commercial building for their merchandise. That isn’t fair to other businesses paying the tax and keeping up a storefront, she said.

Sidari said most residents with garage sales only have them once or twice a year. But he said there are at least two sites that have items are their lawns for many days at a time.

“We have to do something,” he said. “It’s an eyesore.”

Trustee Stan Farone is reluctant to pass legislation on the issue.

“I can’t see putting restrictions on everybody else over two people,” he said.

Trustee Gary Katsanis wants the village to keep working on proposals. The proposal on Wednesday “introduces too many gray areas,” he said.

Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti has presented several options for the Village Board to consider. Vendetti would like residents to register their sales at no cost. That way the village could track them and make sure people aren’t exceeded three days at a time.

He suggested limiting the hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the merchandise to be removed from front lawns after the third day of the sale.

Mayor Dean London wants the board to look at proposals in other communities. In the short term, he said the State Department of Taxation and Finance should be notified of the perpetual garage sales. London said those residents should be collecting sales tax because of the frequency of their sales.