AUGUSTA — Yard sales lasting more than three days in a row will soon be illegal in Augusta with the recent passage of a new ordinance that takes effect in about 30 days.

City councilors voted 5-2 last week to approve a yard sale ordinance, which limits sales to a maximum of three consecutive days and to no more than six per year on the same property.

However, city officials said their target is not someone holding a yard sale that carries on for four days. Instead, they plan to use the ordinance to stop people who have year-round, summer-long, or even month-long yard sales, or who don’t clean up their yards in between multiple sales.

“You don’t have to come get a permit, and no one, if you go four-and-a-half days with a yard sale, is going to run to your house” from the city’s code enforcement office to enforce the ordinance, said At-Large Councilor Jeffrey Bilodeau. Bilodeau voted for the proposal after expressing opposition to a previous ordinance that would have required anyone having a yard sale to register their sale with the city.

“If you’re sitting out there three or four weeks with junk on your lawn from a yard sale, something is probably going to happen at that point, where our code enforcement office would have the ability, if someone calls and complains about what you have out there,” he said. “I think that is reasonable language.”

Ward 4 Councilor Anna Blodgett, who proposed the ordinance, said she did so out of frustration in seeing a few homes in Augusta with yard sales that never seem to end, some going on for years. Others, she said, leave yard sale items out in their yard for months.

The new ordinance requires all items remaining from a yard sale to be properly stored at the end of each yard sale and all signs advertising the sale to be removed at the end of each sale.

“I think it’s just good sense for the community,” Blodgett said. “There’s no registration, there’s no fee, like many communities do. What this does is it keeps properties from keeping their yard sale materials out in front of their houses year round and not taking them in. It’s just cleaning up, once you’re done with the three days. There are no further restrictions. And you can have six per year.”

At-Large Councilor Marci Alexander, one of two votes against the proposal, said she has gotten emails and a few phone calls from people speaking against the ordinance. She said she wouldn’t vote for it because she wants to see the impact first of the property maintenance ordinance city councilors approved in April.

“I still want to wait to see if the property maintenance ordinance takes care of this issue,” she said. “A lot of good work has been done by the city to take some action against some particularly egregious properties that are not being well kept and are, arguably, yard sales and thereby decreasing the value of their neighbor’s properties.”

Matt Nazar, development director, said the property ordinance does not specifically cover yard sales and that they are not currently regulated in the city’s land use ordinance.

Nazar said previously the new yard sale ordinance would only be enforced when a complaint about a yard sale leads to an investigation that determines a rules violation occurred.

Ward 2 Councilor Darek Grant, the other vote in opposition, said previously he worried limiting each sale to three days could make it harder for people who are moving to have a yard sale long enough to sell as many items as they want before they move.

The ordinance takes effect 30 days from passage, which would be Jan. 1.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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