Charlestown Yard Sale Ordinance

What really struck me about the public hearing on Ordinance 213- Yard Sales, at the
Charlestown Town Council meeting which was held earlier this week (January 10,
2011), was that no one seemed to give any thought as to why there should even be an
ordinance which requires one to obtain a permit to have a yard sale! Up until last week I
didn’t know that there was such an ordinance myself. It makes me wonder, as I go about
my staid and normally boring middle-aged life what other crimes I might be unknowingly
committing. Should I have gotten a permit for the holiday party we had? Maybe it was
illegal to rake the leaves without a permit? Does no one else find this absurd?

One councilor stated (in similar if not exact words): “It is awful to live near a lady who
holds a yard sale each week!” Well, I can think of many things that my neighbors can do
that potentially would annoy me, but I would not think of making these things subject to
permits and fines. Thankfully prison, as a consequence, is being removed from the yard
sale ordinance!

Call me dense, but I cannot imagine what kind of societal ill is fostered by folks holding
non-permitted yard sales. Yes, there may be cars parked here and there, but that happens
when people have family or social gatherings. Should we require our citizens to apply
for a permit to hold, say, a birthday party? I sure am not in favor of this!

Just think about this: You decide to hold a yard sale to get rid of some old unwanted
stuff and you must (five days in advance) either go into work late or leave work early so
you can drop by town hall and pay your five dollars to obtain your permit to hold said
yard sale. At minimum an inconvenience, and probably more likely a sizable obstacle for
many types of workers. For a yard sale? What happened to a simple courtesy call to the
police to inform them of your party or sale if traffic or parking might be a problem?

Then there was mention of some people making a mini business of holding frequent yard
sales. So? There was a time when such entrepreneurship was valued!

All you citizens of Charlestown out there who feel as I do, that our representatives should
revoke this ordinance altogether and work on the many more important and pressing
issues facing our town, please contact your town councilors and tell them this!