Proposed yard sale ordinance comes up for vote

Staff Report

A public hearing for  an ordinance amending the municipal code governing garage, yard and rummage sales has been set for Thursday’s Tucumcari City Commission meeting.

This will be the second reading of the ordinance followed by the subsequent voting for approval, residents will have a chance to voice their concerns and opinions during the public hearing.

The commission approved the first reading of the amended ordinance that will restrict residents to hold four garage, yard or rummage sales a year during the May 26 meeting at City Hall.

Mayor-pro tem Robert Lumpkin voted against the first reading of the ordinance, explaining, “I understand the need for the ordinance, but yard sales have been a part of Tucumcari culture since I have lived here.”

Lumpkin said many residence hold these sales as away to raise additional money and it is a form of recreation and socialization for many of them. He said this ordinance seeks to deal with sales that are being held continuously every weekend, making it more like a business or thrift store than yard or garage sale.

The existing ordinance is not specific enough to address garage sales, according to City Manager Jared Langenegger.

Langenegger said code enforcement officers cannot enforce the existing rule, even if someone declares he or she is having continuously held garage sales. Ordinance 1138 is designed to help prevent thrift store or second-hand store-style businesses from operating in a residential area.

Lumpkin said he understands the need for a license to operate such a business in a properly zoned area. He said it should be possible to change the existing regulation to include the definitions of garage, yard and rummage sales.
“We can correct this issue without passing a statute that will impact the entire community for the infractions of a few individuals,” Lumpkin said.

Langenegger said with the change, residents will be required to obtain a permit at no cost from the city in order to hold a garage, rummage or yard sale. He said their would also be two free weekends on Memorial Day and Labor Day that residents can hold sales without a permit.

Petitions were started by Dena Mericle, a former city resident and current resident Tony Leal, collecting more than 300 signatures each, of residents who opposed the ordinance.

“The ordinance is unfair to the community,” Mericle said.

Mericle said if this is the primary concern than the ordinance needs to be rewritten to target those specific people that may operate a continuous sale not the entire community. “This is also a social activity for many of our residents,” Mericle said.

Most of the residents holding garage sales are doing so to raise extra money, “I was one of those raising extra money,” said Tony Leal, resident.

The public hearing is the first item on the agenda, residents will only be able to voice their concerns about the ordinance during the public hearing.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m., Thursday at City Hall.

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