Tough permit proposal calls for yard sale fee

January 03, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Holding a yard sale in Taneytown may be about as easy as becoming a federal agent if a proposed ordinance requiring permit fees for such sales is passed this month.

Also, to get a permit, peddlers and potential yard sale holders will have to supply more than a few bits of personal information and be subjected to an "investigation of the applicant's business and moral character."

The ordinance, drafted mainly to increase permit fees for peddlers and solicitors, has angered residents, several of whom have called the city office with their concerns.

"People have called to say they wanted to talk about it, so I expect there will be a few at the next council meeting," City Manager Joseph A. Mangini Jr. said. "The important thing to realize is that this is not only a yard sale ordinance."

If accepted, the proposal would be enacted as Chapter Three of Title 10,titled "Peddlers, Solicitors, Street Vendors, Yard Sales and Transient Vendors."

Applicants for these licenses should expect to provide, among other things, their name, address, "age, weight, height, color of hair and eyes, and other distinguishing physical characteristics."

The person would also submit the name and address of his or her employer or associate, the length of that employment or association, and a brief description of the merchandise to be sold or business to be conducted.

A statement as to whether he or she has been "convicted of a crime, misdemeanor, or any municipal ordinance, the nature of the offense, the punishment or penalty assessed" should also be given to the clerk/treasurer at the time of application.

Once the application is received, the clerk/treasurer will investigate "the applicant's business and moral character," if it is necessary for "protection of the public welfare," the proposal says.

"All this really does is include people who have the yard sale in with the peddlers," Mr. Mangini said. "Before this, the city didn't do anything to regulate yard sales."

Several City Council members expressed concerns about the lack of control the city had over yard sales during last month's meeting, some saying they made the town unsightly each weekend, Mr. Mangini said.

The proposed ordinance was drafted by City Attorney Thomas F. Stansfield and Clerk/Treasurer Linda M. Hess to increase the peddler's license fee from $5 to $10.

The peddler would be charged $1 for each day or $25 for each quarter the solicitation is carried out, the proposal says. To give consideration to the council's concerns, the ordinance also suggests that yard sales be placed under these restrictions, Mr. Mangini said.

"Most of the stipulations regarding yards sales come from the state ordinance that we haven't been enforcing," Mr. Mangini said.

Maryland law allows residents to hold yard sales for two consecutive weekends or 14 consecutive days.

The Taneytown law would say, "Yard sales are authorized to occur only once in a calendar year and shall not last more than 14 consecu

tive days."

"The law would effect people going door to door, or setting up and selling their wares in the city," Mr. Mangini said. "But it does look as though the part applying to yard sales is a little more stringent than the state's."

Although he knows many people are upset about the law, Mr. Mangini said he believes some sort of regulation is needed.

"I don't think there any question that there should be some rules governing yard sales. The fees may be questioned by the council, but I know they want to control these things," Mr. Mangini said.

The next council meeting is Jan. 11 at the Town Office.

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