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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Garage sale issue still undecided

Just how many garage sales does a family need to have in a year?

That was one of the questions debated during the Spokane Valley City Council’s meeting Tuesday. The council is considering an amendment to its nuisance ordinance that would put restrictions on the length and frequency of garage sales. But some citizens questioned whether the elected officials were taking the issue too far.

“There’s really not a lot of money in it for people, and this is high entertainment (for some). I really think that’s kind of over regulating,” resident Mary Pollard said.

Alice Beattie suggested requiring the people who run perpetual garage sales to have a business license instead of putting restrictive rules on everyone.

But council members said their intent is to help the people who live near individuals who basically run second-hand stores from their homes. The proposed amendment would prohibit sales from lasting longer than seven consecutive days, from being held on more than two consecutive weekends and from occurring more than three times a year at the same residence. Violators could face fines of $250 to $500 or more.

“If you have three garage sales and then a fourth one, chances are you aren’t going to be turned in,” Councilman Mike DeVleming said. “This is a way to address people running a business, a swap shop, a flea market, out of their yard.”

Councilman Mike Flanigan agreed, saying garage sales are intended for households to get rid of surplus items and that they can be a nuisance to neighbors.

But Councilman Steve Taylor said he didn’t think “it’s the council’s role to determine what the intent of what a garage sale should be.”

“I’m not comfortable with this type of mechanism,” he said.

The council is expected to address the garage sale issue again at a later meeting.

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