Jonesboro considering changes to yard sale ordinance

The Jonesboro City Council is weighing whether to approve changes to the town’s yard sale ordinance that would alter how residents use the 12 days on which they are allowed to have yard sales each year.

On Monday, Councilmember Roger Grider proposed changing the ordinance to allow residents to have 12, 1-day yard sales each year, instead of four 3-day sales per year. While the change would not add to, or subtract from, the number of days people are allowed to conduct yard sales in a given year, the sales could become a more common site as people would be able to spread them out across the year.

The city would likely charge $5 per day, for 1-day yard-sale permits, versus $5 for three-day yard sale permits, under Grider’s proposed ordinance change.

Grider told his colleagues he felt the city was overstepping its bounds by only allowing four yard sales per year, even if each sale was allowed to last up to three days.

“I’m a real strong proponent of allowing individuals to make their choice on when they want to do things, as opposed to having government dictate mandates on what days they can do things,” Grider told his fellow councilmembers. “While it’s the same number of days ... it could bring in a little bit extra revenue for the city.”

Grider said several residents have approached him, asking for this change, but his proposal generated mixed reactions among councilmembers, and Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox. Points of contention were the frequency with which sales could take place, and what types of items would be sold.

There were some concerns expressed after Grider said there is at least one Jonesboro resident who buys items through storage sales at public storage facilities, and then re-sells the items through yard sales at his home. Maddox said that person should be buying a business license, instead of a yard-sale license, to re-sell those items.

“The intention for yard sales is for you to get rid of some of your treasures that you’ve got in your house,” the mayor said. “I truly would be against having a yard sale every Saturday, because I wouldn’t want my neighbor having a yard sale every Saturday.”

Councilmember Bobby Wiggins added: “The problem is that people have been going out and buying stuff, and then wanting to have one [a yard sale] all the time.”

Councilmember Clarence Mann questioned the likelihood that people will be holding yard sales every weekend, if the ordinance change is approved. “I don’t think we’re going to be overrun with yard sales,” he said. “At this point in time, I don’t think a whole lot of people have a whole lot to sell, anyway.”

Jonesboro does hold spring and fall city-wide yard sales, in its downtown area, but Grider said some residents are complaining that, because they are elderly, they cannot carry items to downtown Jonesboro to sell them.

Maddox said the council will vote on the proposed change at its Dec. 12 meeting. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., at the Jonesboro Police Department, located at 170 South Main Street.