The Taneytown City Council last night unanimously rejected a proposed ordinance that would have forced residents to submit personal information in order to obtain permits to hold yard sales.
Council members said they would consider a redrafted ordinance that would require residents to obtain permits for yard sales and restrict them to one yard sale a year.
The council told City Attorney Thomas F. Stansfield to redraft the ordinance so it would detail residents' requirements and separate them from the requirements the city would impose on peddlers, door-to-door solicitors and vendors.
"I'm not even in favor of having permits for yard sales," said Councilman Thomas J. Denike of the controversial proposal.
"This whole proposal is confusing. I say we go back and redraft the whole thing."
Some 30 Taneytown residents filled the City Council chamber for the vote.
Resident Roger Keller told the council before the vote that yard sales should not require permits. He said he especially opposed the fees in the proposed law because yard sales often help people buy needed items they otherwise would go without.
"There are many ordinary citizens who are suffering from these hard economic times," Mr. Keller said. "It's a good idea to want to control these things, but I ask the council to think about that little guy who needs to buy school clothes for his children."
Councilman W. Robert Flickenger moved to strike the yard sale section from the peddlers' ordinance because he said the permit process would be too complicated.
"This thing states that to get a permit for a yard sale you have to give [information] like physical characteristics," Mr. Flickenger said. "We need a whole different section that just restates the state law pertaining to yard sales."
"I agree with Mr. Keller about the yard sales," said Councilman Henry C. Heine. "I am totally opposed to almost everything in here [the proposed ordinance]."
At that point, the council voted down Mr. Flickenger's motion and voted to reject the proposed yard sale ordinance.
City Attorney Stansfield and Town Clerk-Treasurer Linda M. Hess had drafted the proposal as a means of increasing permit fees for peddlers and solicitors from $5 to $10. It also called for a charge of $1 per day or $25 for each quarter the solicitation is carried out.
When City Council members expressed concern over Taneytown's lack of control over yard sales, those were included in the ordinance subject to the same restrictions and permit process that peddlers and solicitors faced.
Resident John Click said yesterday that the city was making too much of the yard sale issue.
"I figure we've got a lot bigger issues to deal with in town than this," said Mr. Click, who did not attend last night's meeting because of an illness.
"As far as traffic problems in the streets of Taneytown, I see the area down at the center of town on East Baltimore Street congested every Friday evening, yard sale or no yard sale."