Allowing suburban residents only two garage sales a year

Suburban homeowners must protect their interests, from policing Halloween decorations to limiting the number of garage sales at one address:

Wheaton residents may soon be limited to hosting only two garage sales per year, each for a maximum of two days.

The Wheaton City Council reviewed a proposed ordinance Monday that would modify the city’s existing garage sale regulations.

“There are some homes in the city where people have stuff out on their lawn every weekend throughout the year, or at least throughout the summer months,” said Councilman John Prendiville. “The neighborhoods are becoming a little bit upset with that, they think it is hurting the enjoyment of their property.”

City Manager Don Rose added that this summer has been “different,” with the number of “almost continuous garage sales, taking up the name of hoarder sales” becoming problematic in several neighborhoods.

What exactly does “hurting the enjoyment of their property” mean? Perhaps it is referring to enjoying nature on the front lawn, whether through using the space or having a clear sight line from house or porch to other areas. Perhaps this is generating some extra noise and blocking sidewalks or parking along the street. But, what it really probably means is that homeowners are worried about their property values. What does it look like if neighbors consistently have things for sale in their driveway or front lawn? It looks lower class and less desirable. It is suggestive of commercial establishments or of neighbors who constantly need money. All of this could translate to less value.

At the same time, I’d be interested to hear how a suburban community would enforce this guideline. Will people have to officially register their garage sale? Will police officers start a database? Will neighbors be able to take time-stamped photos of illegal garage sales and turn this in as evidence?

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