Loudon City Council mulls changes to yard sale code
Katherine Fernandez News-Herald.net
The city of Loudon council members do not often hear concerned residents speak up at monthly workshops, but the board did Monday when Barbara Birkholz outlined numerous changes she felt needed to be made in the city’s yard sale ordinance draft.

Council members agreed with Birkholz and began noting what sections should be adjusted in the document.

Council members also were in agreement that the first reading should take place at the next meeting on Aug. 18. Since May, Loudon Police Chief James Webb has received numerous complaints about an ongoing yard sale occurring on Ward Avenue, and he has been unable to take action because there was no ordinance in place.  

“That’s what it is, complaint driven,” Lynn Mills, city manager, said. “We have a situation on Ward Avenue where a family is having a yard sale seven days a week basically, six-seven days a week, and Ward Avenue in that location is a very narrow street, but it gets quite a bit of traffic. So it’s created a traffic jam as well as complaints from neighbors about the visual effects it has on their property.”

Birkholz said she thought the part of the ordinance that limits residents to one yard sale per 30 days was not fair.

Birkholz said she held a yard sale earlier this month in her garage. She had little time to box items up and chose to hold another sale the following weekend.

According to the ordinance, residents may only hold yard sales on “(3) consecutive 24 hour days.” Holding a yard sale on two consecutive weekends would be in violation of the ordinance.

“I don’t want to be in violation is my point, and I have a policeman that comes to my yard sale,” Birkholz said. “So he would know I would be in violation if I had it two weekends in a row.”

Birkholz and Councilmen Michael Cartwright and Lynn Millsaps considered a need to delete the entire section regarding the number of signs residents could display on their property and where the signs could be placed.

The ordinance section on use of signs permitted the use of two signs in the seller’s yard and two for directions, which Birkholz said was “not fair,” especially taking into consideration overuse of political signs posted along the highways.

“I’d rather have 50 signs up and down within two or three days than two signs up for three weeks,” Cartwright said.

Birkholz said she and family members place one sign at each major intersection in Loudon. She also typically places a sign at the bottom of her property and one on the road. She said part of the ordinance would not help with bringing in customers and would be conducive to generating sales.

Mayor Judy Keller agreed, but said changes need to be made and brought into first reading for Monday’s city council meeting.

“After the discussion last night, there’ll be several of those issues will be incorporated into the ordinance before it’s finally passed,” Mills said. “We just hope it will keep situations like the one on Ward Avenue from happening at other places in the community.”