Have you ever had a neighbor who seemed to hold a yard sale every weekend? It can be a nuisance and cause traffic problems, and it's probably against city code.
John Bos Jr., who runs Dutch Hollow Farms in northeast Modesto, had a question about such sales. He rents the land at Oakdale and Claribel roads, but someone else rents the farmhouse on the property.
Those folks, he said, held two-day yard sales over four consecutive weekends, a total of eight days. He said the sales caused a "trashy eyesore" near his business, and he wanted to know what the rules are for such sales.
It depends on where you live.
Bert Lippert of the city of Modesto said residents are allowed to hold two yard sales a year with a three-day maximum for each sale. No permit is required.
If folks violate that limit, people like John who want to complain can call the Neighborhood Preservation Unit at (209) 577-5250.
If you live in Ceres, you first must obtain a sales permit at city hall, and it costs $5. You can hold two sales in a "rolling" year, which means if you have one sale April 1, you can hold one more by March 31 next year. And your sale can be on three consecutive dates or on Saturdays and Sundays on two consecutive weekends.
(For those who need a little help with their math because they think that two plus two equals four, in this case the rule means if you have a sale on a Saturday and Sunday for two weekends in a row, that counts as one sale date or two plus two equals one and you can have another yard sale later in the year.)
Oakdale residents can hold up to three sales per year but also must obtain a $5 permit from city hall. Each permit is good for a three-day sale. What happens if people decide to put out goods once a month?
"We make an effort to police it, but these days with limited staffing, it's almost impossible," said Albert Avila, Oakdale's finance director.
He said violators should be reported to Oakdale's building department at (209) 845-3625.
Turlockers pay the most $15 for a sale permit, which like the Ceres one is good for three consecutive days or two weekends in a row. But in Turlock, you have a choice for the latter sales it can be on a Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday for the two weekends.
Violators there can be charged $20 if caught having a sale without a permit and their sale is shut down after just one day; citations for repeat offenders can cost $100. Ouch!
By the way, most cities and counties have a website that contains a lot of useful information.
My favorite so far belongs to the city of Modesto, which has a great list where you can find a contact name and phone number or email address for many areas of concern, including alley and pothole repair, illegal dumping, weed complaints and vacant lots, etc. Here's the address: www.modestogov.com/contacts.asp.
NEXT WEEK: Downtown residential parking.
Send questions to Sue Nowicki at email@example.com, fax to (209) 578-2207 or mail to P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352-5256.