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Flower Hill drops fees for garage sales

Flower Hill Village Hall on July 27, 2012.

Flower Hill Village Hall on July 27, 2012. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Flower Hill residents no longer have to pay a fee to hold a garage sale.

An unidentified resident who held garage sales had sought the change, prompting village officials to drop the $25 fee last week.

"The board of trustees made a decision there was no reason for residents to have fees," said Elaine Phillips, mayor of the village of 4,700, south of Port Washington and east of Plandome.

Residents still must apply for permits and a commercial tag sale will cost $100 instead of $25.

Village Administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer said a permit is still required for garage sales, so the village can keep track of the number of the events.

She said code enforcement officers generally follow up the day after the sale and may remove remaining signs. "We track it because of the signage," she said, describing it as "a quality-of-life issue."

The Town of North Hempstead, in which Flower Hill is a village, doesn't require fees or permits for garage sales.

The Village of East Hills southeast of Flower Hill requires residents to apply for a permit. It costs $25 and is valid for two consecutive days.

"We want to make sure that the board has all the information that's available for security and other reasons -- there's a cost factor in reviewing and policing this," said William Burton, the East Hills Village attorney. "It can involve traffic considerations, and we also want to have information on what's being sold and where."

Code enforcement or building department officials often check the sale, so homeowners are "not making this into a store where they bring in [products] from manufacturers," Burton said.

Officials from several North Shore villages say they also check for signs left up after sales.

"We're always on top of whether the signs come down," Burton said. "In certain instances, we've had to ask the residents to remove them, but we haven't encountered any difficulties."

Bob Weitzner, mayor of Port Washington North, said in an email that the village doesn't charge residents for having yard sales. "We have been quite lenient regarding them," he wrote. "That includes signs, which is my biggest concern."

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