Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley wants his town back.
So a set of guidelines for regulating lawn, yard, garage and tag sales may be just the first of a series of new laws in the town.
"It was something that we felt was necessary to stop people from essentially having flea markets," Mayor Kelley said. "There's going to be a lot of new ordinances coming out in Dearing, Ga. This used to be a nice, quaint little town, and you didn't need all this stuff. But times are changing, and we are trying to be proactive rather than reactive..."
Town council members listened to the initial reading of the new rules last week, and final approval could come after the second reading in April.
The ordinance requires all persons to file an application for a permit before having any yard sale. The application lists the name of the applicant, the location of the proposed sale, the day or days on which the sale is to be held, and the names and addresses of all other persons who are contributing personal property to the sale. A fee of $10 is also required with the application.
The permit is valid for one day, except in the case of rain, and no more than four permits per calendar year shall be issued to the same address. No more than two families or householders may participate in the sale, which must take place between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. The ordinance also requires that all yard sale items be removed from view by 6 p.m. that same day.
The original ordinance restricted the annual number of yard sales per permit holder to two, but council members increased that number to four.
"I am very pleased with it... I thought everything was fair, more than fair," Mayor Kelley said. "I think that four yard sales a year is a gracious plenty... I don't see where it stops anybody from being able to have a yard sale."
Dearing resident and former council member Bobby Aldred said some of his neighbors on South Main have held an ongoing yard sale for quite some time. He complained that customers park in his yard and driveway and block the road. At Mr. Adlred's request, the council added an "ample parking" issue to the ordinance.
"Thank you for all the hard work you did," Mr. Aldred said at the end of the meeting.
The penalty for failure to comply with the ordinance is a fine of up to $150, which will be enforced by the county, according to Mayor Kelley.
Non-profit organizations, such as schools, churches or charity teams are exempt from the permit.
As required by law, a second reading of the ordinance will take place during the April Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 9, and will be voted on by the council at that time. The ordinance will be enacted five days after the second reading. After the enactment, permits may be obtained from the town clerk between 9 a.m. and noon every Thursday at the Town Hall. For more information, call 706-556-3725.