America the Messy Yard Police State
Mesa government tyrants to shut down garage sales?Mesa government tyrants to crack down on garage sales. Don't these government nannies have any real criminals to hunt down? Or real problems to solve?
Mesa considers limiting amount of garage sales
by Gary Nelson - Jan. 11, 2011 10:08 AM
The Arizona Republic
Mesa residents would be allowed to have only four garage sales a year under an ordinance being drafted by city staffers.
But the City Council decided last week to soften the staff's proposed approach to storing junked cars on private property.
Those were the two main issues as staff members sought council direction on revisions to the nuisance ordinance, which is used by code-compliance officers to preserve the ambience and appearance of Mesa's neighborhoods.
Vice Mayor Kyle Jones said garage sales can be a nuisance.
"That is something that is fairly prevalent in my neck of the woods," he said. "We have homes that have made it a regular business - and they're not running a business, but they are."
Each of the four sales allowed in a calendar year would be limited to three days, giving homeowners a total of 12 days a year to peddle their stuff. Mesa currently has no limit on the number of sales; most neighboring communities do.
The discussion about junk cars was a bit more knotty, as council members worried about whether Mesa might be getting too tough on people who restore old cars as a hobby.
"I've been working with the hobbyist industry quite a bit," Councilman Dave Richins said. "We've really been promoting the classic-car activities" and if the city limited people to two inoperable cars per lot, as staff members proposed, many hobbyists would become lawbreakers.
Mayor Scott Smith said it shouldn't matter how many cars someone has on his property as long as no one can see them.
"I'm more concerned about, does it affect your neighbors," Smith said. "Can you see the activity? Does it create a safety hazard?"
On the other hand, Smith said, the city needs legal language to address "an egregious violation of normal standards."
The real issue, Richins said, is whether someone has let his property become a junkyard. "A junkyard is different from a hobbyist," he said, "so how do we define it?"