Pennsylvania Town Seeks to Squash Scourge of Garage Sales

The small town of South Greensburg, PA is considering limiting the number of yard sales residents can conduct. Local TV station KTKA reports:

We decided, with the warmer weather coming up, we would sort of define what a garage sale was,” Borough Council President Clentin Martin said.
He has proposed an ordinance, which he says would prevent “people going to flea markets, buying junk that they collect in these flea markets bringing it home, then putting it into their garage, and then calling it a ‘garage sale.’"

Residents would be limited to two two-day garage sales a year, permits for which would cost $5.

Katherine Mangu-Ward’s written about garage sales coming under the purview of the feds after the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 went into effect.

Will lemonade stands be next?

All part of the long war on Main Street.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    It's the damned Craigslist lobby at work again.

  • Jerry||

    And they'll happily pay someone $50k a year to enforce said ordinance.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why hire new code enforcement when your SWAT team has nothing to do?

  • ||

    Nobody goes around actively enforcing such an ordinance. It would only be enforced by an especially observant cop or a pain in the ass neighbor who rats you out.

  • mustard||

    You ever tried to park at a garbage sale?

  • ||

    We have a two yard sale per year limit where I live too. No fee though.

    It's just another example of snob zoning. My town also has a 2 acre minimum on new building lots. Riff raff begone!

  • RPR2||

    I think it's twice a year in Dallas and a $35 fee. It's put a crimp in a couple of my neighbor's stylings.

  • RPR2||

    one of them had so many sales, I never had to. I just took my junk to her.

  • Zeb||

    I can see making a law to keep people from effectively opening a junk store on their lawn or garage (I don't agree, but such a law woudl not be too far out of line with the usual regulation of business). But this seems like overkill. There is a lot of space between having yard sales for 4 days a year and running an unapproved retail outlet.

  • Brandon||

    There is a family down the street from me that has a yard sale literally every weekend from April to October. It's...not a big deal. I go over every once in a while to see if they have anything interesting. Otherwise, I wave to them when I'm walking out to my car or mailbox. Even their next-door neighbors don't care. Laws like this are the result of peoples' paranoid fears about worst-imaginable scenarios winning out over reality.

  • ||

    The everlasting yard sales also tend to be fences who buy and sell stolen property. Not counting the fee, this rule seems reasonable to me.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Where do they find that much old clothes and kids toys to steal?

  • SIV||

    You don't think they are going to risk taking those hot single-burger George Foreman grills, Reader's Digest Condensed books and 12" B&W CRT TVs to the pawn shop do you?

  • WarrenT||

    Same ordnance in my town, no fee and I've not heard of anyone ever having the code pricks up in their business.

    One fellow had a sale every weekend during the dry months and nobody sad a thing.

    This is one of those things that the petty fascists pass so they can call upon it when they need to fuck with someone for other reasons.

  • WarrenT||

    *said though no one had a sad either.

  • John||

    Garage sale people are weird. I have a sister who is one of them. They spend the entire year buying crap they don't need from other garage sale people. Then they have a yearly sale themselves to sell it to, wait for it, other garage sale people. They just circulate the same useless crap between one another.

    That said, they have every right to do that. So fuck South Greensburg, PA.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    They just circulate the same useless crap between one another.

    Sounds a lot like NFL head coaching positions.

  • ||

    "We decided, with the warmer weather coming up, we would sort of define what a garage sale was stick our noses into other people's business, and make a little money on the way"

  • np||

    Yeah, what's that saying.. "hell is other people"

    Whether it's neighbors snitching on you about being in violation for some obscure regulation for your home (and they won't tell you who!!).. or whether is some neighbors who complain about a business--wanting them to do this or that, or not do this or that on their property--*before* even starting up

  • Loki||

    I'm sure it's all about the $5 fee. Which will soon be raised to $10, and then to $15, and then... you get the picture.

  • John||

    It always ends in a SWAT raid doesn't it?

  • Doctor Whom||

    We the people have the right to limit garage sales. It's not enough to limit them by simply not patronizing them because shut up and respect my authoritay.

  • Old Mexican||

    He has proposed an ordinance, which he says would prevent “people going to flea markets, buying junk that they collect in these flea markets bringing it home, then putting it into their garage, and then calling it a ‘garage sale.’"


    Otherwise known as normal economic activity.

    What is it about "Your Ass Belongs To Us" that don't you understand?

  • ||

    @Ed Krayewski: Your first link is unusable, it appears to look for a floppy drive for some reason.

  • Brandon||

    If you don't have one, you could always pick one up at a garage sale.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Aiding and abetting.

  • Ed||

    Last time I save links to a floppy!

  • kitmaira||

    This is news? My town, San Fernando, CA has had this rule for years, I had a garage sale recently at my mom's in Covina, CA, same rule. I think this is extremely common.

  • Publilius||

    I live in a small rural village of 2300 people. We've had this kind of law since the mid-1980s. All garage sales must have a permit. First permit of the year is five dollars. Second one is ten dollars. Each additional permit is one hundred dollars.

    The first year the law was passed, a couple of people were shut down when they were having a garage sale every weekend without a permit. I don't remember anyone trying it since then.

    We do have a lot of busybodies here, so I'm sure someone would rat them out.

  • Brandybuck||

    He has proposed an ordinance, which he says would prevent “people going to flea markets, buying junk that they collect in these flea markets bringing it home, then putting it into their garage, and then calling it a ‘garage sale.’"

    Yeah, so what? This is the true separation of libertarians from liberals and conservatives. Libertarians just don't think it's any of their business.

    If my neighbor is having so many yard sales it's causing a nuisance, it's still not a city councilman's problem, but one for the courts and a tort system.

  • SIV||

    Can I sue them for listing baby clothes, a broken electric can opener, and Twilight paperbacks as "a little bit of everything" ?

  • Killazontherun||

    people going to flea markets, buying junk that they collect in these flea markets bringing it home, then putting it into their garage, and then calling it a ‘garage sale.

    OMG! People buying junk! People selling junk1 dogs, cats, living together!

    Kill yourself, Mr. Martin. You are too good for this world.

  • Sevo||

    "would prevent “people going to flea markets, buying junk that they collect in these flea markets bringing it home, then putting it into their garage, and then calling it a ‘garage sale.’"

    Whaaa?!
    WIH does he think that crap comes from? Neiman Marcus?

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