Yard sales on the agenda at city board today

Published 5:06 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2019

By Jeremy Weldon

Yard sales –  specifically who may have one, where, and how often – will be a topic at today meeting of the Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

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Attorney Colmon Mitchell is expected to show council members a new ordinance he prepared at the request of Code Enforcement Office administrator Andy Berryhill earlier this month,

Berryhill told aldermen he has been looking over paperwork filed for yard sale permits and reviewing the city’s current policy on yard sales since taking over that office in the summer.

Berryhill said he found that several people have had yard sale permits issued multiple times in recent months, often at the same location. He said a comparison of the policies of neighboring cities would be considered when drawing up new regulations for Batesville.

Signs for yard sales are also expected to be limited to the location of the sale only, if aldermen agree to the proposed changes. Currently, Berryhill said, signs are left attached to electric company poles, stop signs, and trees all over the city.

“They’re everywhere on Monday morning now, and the only way I know to stop that is limiting everyone to one sign,” Berryhill said. He said that social media, newspaper advertising, and word of mouth are sufficient ways for yard sale permit holders to broadcast their locations and items for sale.

Berryhill also said he has noticed many yard sales are held at places of business, or near stores. “These people are basically circumventing the system and selling items that stores sell without having the cost of operation. That’s unfair to our city merchants who pay their taxes and operate a store,” he said.

Additionally, the board is also expected to consider limiting the number or permits that may be issued each year to individuals, and placing a quota on the number of sales permitted at each address in the city limits.

The crackdown on yard sales is another effort undertaken by the city board in recent months to regulate commerce of all types in the city, especially that of transient and temporary vendors. The board continues to contemplate a move to consolidate those type of vendors – fruit and vegetable stands, food trucks, crafts, and others – to a single location.

Many other surrounding municipalities have such designated areas, but the idea drew resistance from some board members earlier this year when the crawfish vendors who operate on Hwy. 6 each year objected.

The mayor and aldermen will convene today’s meeting at City Hall at 2 p.m. when the yard sale ordinance, and other agenda items, will be taken up.