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Babylon Town officials consider laws to regulate yard sales

A man at an estate sale looks at

A man at an estate sale looks at items in the yard of a West Babylon home on Thursday, June 24, 2015. Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Cleaning out grandma's attic may get a little more complicated in the Town of Babylon.

The town is proposing a new "sales of personal property" section to its code to regulate yard sales, also known as garage or tag sales. A public hearing on the proposal will be held Tuesday.

Councilman Tom Donnelly said the town has received several dozen complaints from residents living near people who were not having the occasional yard sale but were instead "running a business out of their driveway every week."

"There were cars coming and going, leftover stuff was left in the street," he said. "It becomes a quality-of-life issue."

The town's three incorporated villages have similar regulations, as do a number of towns and villages across Long Island that require permits for yard sales. Last year, the village of Flower Hill dropped the $25 fee, but kept the requirement to have a permit.

The proposed law would require residents seeking to have a yard sale to obtain a permit from the town clerk. To receive a permit, which town officials said would cost around $5, residents must provide proof of residency or ownership of the property having the sale.

Under the proposed law, sales cannot be held for more than two consecutive days, must take place on weekends and are limited to the months of April to September. Only two sales per lot would be permitted in a year. In addition, under the proposed law, only one sign advertising the sale would be permitted and it must remain on the property having the sale.

The proposed penalty for violation would be: a fine of $100 to $500 for a first offense; a fine of $500 to $1,000 for a second offense within a five-year period; and a fine of $1,000 to $2,500 for a third offense within that same period.

Donnelly said the law is not meant to be a "revenue producing thing" and enforcement would be complaint-driven.

"We're not looking to break the chops of the average person," he said. "We're trying to target the people running a business."

Denise LoSquadro, who owns Sisters in Charge, a Syosset business that runs estate and moving sales, said she is in favor of the new law.

"Sometimes we do get a neighbor who gets irate," she said. "I think this kind of protects us in a way."

Ze Santiago, of North Babylon, said she goes "garage sale-ing" every summer, hitting five or six sales to find bargains.

"I don't think you should have to pay $5 for a garage sale at your own home," she said as she perused a $1 backpack at a local yard sale.

Similarly, a West Babylon man who would only identify himself as Tony called the proposal "ridiculous" as he sat watch over his own garage sale, which he said he has about five times a year.

"My wife goes to yard sales, she buys clothes for our grandkids and things for the house," he said. "They take that away, what are they proving?"

Mary Ann Polidoro, of West Babylon, said she only has one sale a year and approves of the law.

"Some people have it every weekend," she said of the sales. "When you regulate things, your neighborhood stays nice."

The public hearing will be at 10 a.m. at Town Hall, 200 E. Sunrise Hwy., Lindenhurst.

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