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To make it easier for Palm Coast to track the number of garage sales taking place, the City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that will require residents to get a permit before holding a garage sale.
The permit will help the city’s Code Enforcement Department limit each residence to two garage sales per year, as outlined in the city’s code.
Initially, the permit would have required a $5 fee to cover administrative costs, but City Councilman Bill McGuire suggested the fee be canceled.
City Manager Jim Landon said the $5 was not for revenue, but simply a tool to help code enforcement officers track how many garage sales people are having.
If someone having a garage sale doesn’t have a permit, that will likely be because there already were two sales at that residence. In that case, the resident can be cited by code enforcement, Landon said.
“It’s not for the revenue whatsoever,” Landon said. “There’s not enough revenue in it to make it worthwhile. It’s an enforcement tool.”
Said McGuire: “What we’re trying to do here is answer the citizens who complained that their neighbors are having an excessive amount of garage sales, which is a legitimate complaint.”
With a 4-1 vote, the City Council approved the resolution. City Councilman Frank Meeker was the lone member who voted against the permit requirement.
Meeker, who said he has not gotten many complaints from residents, said the city’s code enforcement could handle the problem. Meeker wasn’t a proponent of requiring a permit to do something on private property.
“I like my government small, I don’t like collecting information about citizens — I don’t like having to get permits for things I’m doing on my property,” Meeker said.
City Councilman Jason DeLorenzo initially proposed the ordinance in July.
“All neighbors have rights,” DeLorenzo said. “You have a right to have a couple garage sales per year, and I have a right to not have traffic on my street and parking on my lawn — and property rights are for everyone.”
If the ordinance is officially approved at the next City Council meeting in two weeks, residents will be able to apply for permits online, over the phone or at city offices. The city’s website will then feature a list of what garage sales are taking place each weekend, as well as maps on the locations throughout town. Additionally, residents will have 150 characters to describe items being sold at the garage sale.
Currently 3 Responses
- On September 4th, several people went to the council meeting hoping that what they would say would be heard, not so. The council had their own agenda and even paid a programmer to create a site to track garage sales already. This was the first sign that no matter what was said, this "code enforcement policy" was going to be approved.
Jason DeLorenzo claimed ownership of this program because of the complaints he received about people parking on other people's property. It amazes me how ownership of the "right-of-way" becomes the homeowner when the council wants to validate another restriction on the tax-paying homeowners of Palm Coast, however if that same homeowner wants to put up a sign asking people not to walk their dogs or park on their property, it now belongs to the city. How convenient.
Several people got up and voiced how "petty" this was, but councilman Bill Lewis said that he was speaking for the people that weren't there. If it was that important to them, they should've been there. You have all these people that sat through hours of this meeting to voice their opinion about not passing any more restrictions on homeowners because of a few people that are habitual offenders. Yet none of the council member heard their objections.
The ONLY councilman that voted against this proposal was Frank Meeker and his view on the whole process was to monitor it some other way, like code enforcement driving around waisting more of our money.
Bill McGuire proposed that the city should not approve a fee for the restriction and that it should be on a "trial basis" for 90 days. Jon Netts agreed that it should be a free service, but wanted the trial basis to be 6 months (well past the upcoming elections).
Then Jon Netts spoke up and really showed how out of touch he was about our city when he stated "Palm Coast has always been a no sign city, and I want to keep it that way". Are you kidding me? Which Palm Coast is he talking about? Surely not Palm Coast, Florida, there are signs everywhere! When he addressed the election signs that pollute our view, Mr. Netts stated that "they are only up every couple of years".
Mr. Netts do the math! If a person has a sign and they put it up from 8am until 4 pm, that is 8 hours. 2 days, that is 16 hours. Twice a year, that is 32 hours a year. These election signs are up for 6 months, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. That would be about 30,576 hours per year and there are 1000's of them! Not to mention the real estate signs, the "I want to buy your home" signs and so on.
It was stated by Barbara Grossman, code enforcement manager, "The city picks up approximately 525 signs per month on the weekends (Friday through Sunday). Of those, 95% are garage sale signs". What isn't said is that a majority of those signs are picked up during "approved" times. This new proposal will limit you to 1 sign in your own lawn and no others. This is fine for the people who live on major streets, but what about the rest? The sign you would print out and post in your yard. Any kid with a basic knowledge of a picture program can change the date and or address before printing it out.
EVERYONE that went to this meeting asked for the council to drop this issue and pay attention to the "real" problems. One guy talked about the crime, one about unemployment, another lady talked about property values, yet another talked about how they already tell us what color our houses and fences can be, this went on for about an hour. It was just waisted breath, because in the end, the project was approved.
There are always complaints, but to harass the tax-paying & voting homeowners is not where OUR council should focus their attention.
The new motto for our town should be "Welcome to Palm Coast, "Big Brother" is watching and he doesn't want you to have a garage sale"!
Elections are coming up, we need to remind these "elected" officials that they were voted in, they can be voted OUT!
- Don't get! What makes them think individuals who are currently violating the current code are going to apply for Permits and how is code enforcement going to enforce it? They fail to enforce the current codes that are in the books now (2 Garage Sales a Year), cutting your lawn, maintaining your property... Only reason we see warning notices is because of anonymous complaints submitted through their website and I will attest to that. Just enforce the codes in the books. It's that easy!
- If we have to have a permit then they better not come right behind and pull down our signs! If you dont take your sign down then you should be penalized but it is just not right especially in these times to take down the signs.
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