CRESTVIEW — The Crestview City Council indicated it wants to rest discussion on a proposed ordinance that would regulate yard sales.
Council members expressed hesitation for a proposed itinerate vendor ordinance that city planner Eric Davis presented during a work session Monday.
The proposal prohibits residents from opening home-based businesses without certification; requires that the home occupation take no more than 25 percent of the home’s floor space; prohibits storing business materials; and excludes mobile food vending from being considered at home occupations.
Davis drafted the document following complaints of excessive traffic and parking in residential yards that ruined sprinkler systems. Such problems associated with recurring yard sales have increased following the economic downtown, the workshop packet notes.
City officials raised concerns about the proposal.
Several residents sell items on websites like eBay; many of them store merchandise inside their home or in a nearby shed, Crestview Fire Chief Joseph Traylor said, adding he was concerned about inspecting structures annually.
"The enforcement of inspecting annually commercial office space in residential areas is so overwhelming," he said. "We have enough trouble keeping up with existing (businesses)."
Councilman Thomas Gordon said current laws cover the concerns.
"I'm cautious about setting rules that we cannot and should not enforce,"he said. "... If they are conducting a business, we have laws in place for that; if they are blocking traffic we have laws against that.”
Davis presented options for dealing with homeowners who purportedly have ongoing yard sales. Limiting the number of yard sales a resident can have within 30 or 90 days could help, he said.
"Often it is hard for us to control (yard sales) happening on Saturday and Sunday. Typically we don't have planning or code enforcement staff available on those days,” Davis said.
Council president Robyn Helt favored limiting yard sales between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on three consecutive days.
City officials said they just want to ensure yard sales do not become a public nuisance or create unsafe conditions.
"If you are going to address it at all, I would like for it to be somewhat vague," Helt said. "I certainly do not want to prevent people from conducting yard sales; it’s part of being an American."
Council members Shannon Hayes, Joe Blocker and Mickey Rytman agreed and suggested resting discussion of such an ordinance until larger problems develop.
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