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Garage salin' into trouble
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It’s winter, so you wouldn’t expect there to be much garage sale traffic these days.
Winter ends, though, and the traffic picks up.
The signs, that get tacked up on public property — and even on private property, sometimes — and then that get left to rot long after the sales are over, will return with the warm weather.
The traffic parked willy-nilly and the drivers who pay more attention to getting into the sale, than they do to other traffic and even to pedestrians, will come with the warm weather, too.
True, they aren’t coming tomorrow, but they are coming and in some places in Kansas, people want to do something about it.
We have zoning regulations that control how businesses are addressed in residential areas because of these issues.
Signage and traffic are both addressed in most community zoning regulations, because when people buy a house they don’t expect to have to deal with the noise and crowds of a retail atmosphere, unless, of course, they choose to live in a retail area.
But outside of that, they expect there to be a level of quiet and a lack of traffic.
That changes, however when there’s a big garage sale.
Still, we put up with it, because we want to cooperate and our neighbors are just trying to clear out a few things. Unless, of course, our neighbors start scheduling a regular garage sale business. And then it becomes a weekly hassle.
That is getting addressed in Liberal and, frankly, it is being discussed elsewhere, as well.
According to the Associated Press report: “A top official in Liberal says that some residents are taking garage sales to new and bothersome levels, and he’s asking the City Commission to put limits on the events.
“Code enforcement director Kory Krause has proposed an ordinance allowing residents to hold a maximum of four garage sales a year, with free permits obtained from the city.
“Garage sales traditionally feature used items that a household no longer needs. But Krause says that in Liberal, some people are making a small business of the sales, holding weekly events with many new items in their original packaging.
“Krause says residents have complained about the noise and traffic created by the sales and the proliferation of signs advertising them.”
This is certainly not going on in every Great Bend neighborhood yet, but you can see evidence in the warm weather months of spots where a sale goes on most weekends and the question has been raised of when it stops being an allowable garage sale and when it becomes just another retail business that should be moved to a retail zone.
Let’s face it, on a regular basis a garage sales doesn’t add to the function of a residence area.
— Chuck Smith