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Halifax enacts curbs on yard sales

SoVaNow.com / October 14, 2010
Halifax Town Council moved Tuesday to regulate yard sales inside town limits, enacting an ordinance that requires sellers to take out permits prior to holding the sales. The ordinance also caps the number of sales that individual residents can offer each year.

The permit is free for the first four sales within a year’s time, but residents holding sales must register the time and date of the sale at Town Hall. The applicant must also attest that the items for sale are personal property and not acquired nor consigned for the purpose of resale.

For every sale after the first four within a 12 month span, permits will be required, at a cost of $30 each time. Yard sales which are advertised as two- or three-day sales will be deemed as two or three separate sales.

Council approved the ordinance on a 4-1 vote with only Councilman Phil Hammond voting in opposition. Hammond noted the majority of residents who put on yard sales have only one or two a year, and he expressed concerns about the inconvenience of having to register the sales with the town administration. (Councilman Tommy Reagan was absent from the Tuesday meeting.)

Councilmen Jack Dunavant and Tom Brown said they regretted adding any more laws or restrictions to the town code, but said the Town needed to take action because of a few people who abuse the right to hold unlimited yard sales in town. The councilmen said it is unfair to town merchants who pay business license taxes to have to compete with residents who hold yard sales nearly every weekend without having to pay for a business license.

No citizen showed up to comment on the ordinance amendment, which was advertised prior to the public hearing on Tuesday night.

Council also held a public hearing on moving municipal elections from the second Tuesday in May to the second Tuesday of November, with terms of office beginning on January 1 rather than on July 1. No citizen commented on this issue, either. A second public hearing must be held on the new election date before the Virginia General Assembly can ratify the change during the 2011 session.

Council voted to revert to a meeting schedule of committee meetings on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. prior to Council’s regular session on the following Tuesday night. The new schedule will give the committees more time to deal with matters of importance.

During committee meetings earlier in the evening, Events Coordinator Erin Shaughnessy reported that she expects to have three barbeque cook-out contestants at next Saturday’s Grills & Thrills. The October 23 event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the former Farmer’s Foods.

In addition to the cookout, a fund-raiser for the Halifax Volunteer Fire Department, there will be a car show with prizes awarded for Best in Show, Best Interior, Best Paint, Best Custom and Best Engine.

Four local vineyards will offer wines for sale at the beer garden, and members of the “We’ve Got Rhythm Dance Studio” will perform in he afternoon. There will be a special kids area and an adopt-a-thon by the Halifax County Humane Society as well as arts and crafts for sale.

Shaughnessy also reminded Councilmen of the upcoming Halifax Halloween Treat Trail the following Saturday, October 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. with lots of tricks and treats. Sponsored by the Halifax Village Business Association and the Town there will be costume contests as well as coloring contests for those ages 0-12 with spooky games and a Tent of Terror. Beth Car Baptist Church of Halifax will feature a “Trunk or Treat.”

Current Affairs committee members, along with other Councilmen, held a lengthy discussion about blighted properties within the Town that need to be dealt with. Mayor Dick Moore, along with Councilman Brown, spent the better part of one day recently looking at several listed properties, trying to get a better feel for what can be done to either improve or demolish them.

They asked Town Manager Carl Espy to prepare a list of the properties under discussion and list the steps that must be taken in order to proceed with improvements or demolition.

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