The Royal Palm Beach Village Council eased some of its limitations on garage sales last week after a resident asked that sales be allowed more than twice a year.
At the Jan. 17 council meeting, Community Development Director Rob Hill said he had researched the issue at the council’s direction after resident Candice Cavaleri made the request for more lenient yard sale rules at the council’s Dec. 20 meeting.
Cavaleri had requested allowing four yard sales per year instead of the two, that four signs be allowed instead of two, and that the $10 registration fee include a posting on the village web site.
Hill provided a list of garage sale regulations in other municipalities.
“Surprisingly, you’ll see that they vary from no regulation at all, to some that are quite numerous, and some that replicate the same regulations that we have,” Hill said.
Of the 10 municipalities surveyed, only two charge a fee, $5 by Lantana and $10 by Atlantis. Four do not regulate the number of sales per year. Three restrict the number to two, the county allows three, Lantana allows four and West Palm Beach allows six.
Hill said the village has received little feedback regarding yard sales other than from Cavaleri.
“People seem to think it is adequate having two, but it hasn’t generated a lot of concern,” he said. “I would be remiss if I did not tell you that I did bump into some residents who pointed out to me that they do not enjoy the extra traffic in residential neighborhoods.”
The village currently allows two yard sales per home per year using two village-issued signs. The $10 fee covers the cost of the signs and administrative costs. “Garage sales that go beyond that, code enforcement would kick in with a warning, and if it was to continue, it would be covered by the special magistrate,” Hill said.
Hill added that he had met with the village’s web site operators, who said posting yard sale announcements would not be difficult.
Hill also pointed out that the Recreation Department hosts two community garage sales per year, with a garage sale focused on children’s items coming up Saturday, Feb. 2 at Veterans Park.
Vice Mayor Fred Pinto asked Hill for a recommendation, and Hill said he thought the current policy is appropriate. “It really hasn’t generated many concerns, so I would recommend staying with the position that we have now,” Hill said, adding that allowing additional village-issued signs would not be a problem.
Councilwoman Martha Webster said she liked the idea of listing the sales on the village web site. “Looking at our survey, you see that we charge the most,” she said. “Our citizens are also our clients, and having them included in a web site listing would be excellent.”
Webster said she would also like to increase the number of allowable signs to four and increase the number of allowable garage sales.
“If you were to have a garage sale, I don’t think two signs would get you to the location of your garage because of the way the streets are here in Royal Palm Beach,” she said. “I would go to four signs, and I would be inclined to go to three or four garage sales per year.”
Councilman Richard Valuntas agreed with Webster’s suggestions, except that he would restrict the sales to one garage sale quarterly rather than possibly allow a sale on four consecutive weekends. “That could be a problem for some neighbors,” he said.
Webster made a motion to go with four garage sales, one per quarter; to keep the fee the same; to include the web site link; and to issue a maximum of four signs.
Pinto, however, preferred three sales, spaced apart due to traffic concerns, and Webster agreed to amend her motion. Cavaleri thanked council members for their consideration. “Three is better than two,” she said.
Mayor Matty Mattioli said he would vote for the motion but was concerned about making changes to benefit only one person, since no one else seemed to be concerned about yard sales.
“I will support this, but I just want to put a warning out that you’re on a slippery slope,” he said, reminding his fellow council members of a 2011 incident when the council decided not to change an ordinance to allow a resident to give swimming lessons in a residential neighborhood. “If you do it one time, you have to do it for everybody.”
The motion carried 5-0.