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County may limit garage sales

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Daily Southtown
by Steve Ross Johnson

Rainy days and picky buyers might soon not be the only problems encountered by garage sale holders in Cook County.

A proposal to limit the number of garage sales individuals can hold and how long they can last was approved on a 6-to-4 vote Tuesday by a zoning and building committee of the Cook County Board.

"This is for those chronic people who are basically operating a flea market out of their homes," said Commissioner Gregg Goslin (R-Glenview), who sponsored the proposal. "There's nothing that can be cited and nothing you can complain about, because nothing prohibits it."

Called the Garage Sale Ordinance, households would be limited to two sales per year and could last no longer than three consecutive days. Also, garage sales would be permitted only between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The proposal is scheduled to be voted on by the full board at its meeting July 12.

Opponents saw the ordinance as an unnecessary solution to a non-issue.

"We just can't take an item or a small problem and mushroom it into something big," said Commissioner Earlean Collins (D-Chicago). "People have garage sales for different reasons on their own property, and unless you want to deal with something where you charge them some taxes — getting a permit to have a garage sale to me is simply ridiculous."

Commissioner Joan Murphy (D-Crestwood) offered a compromise before eventually giving her "no" vote.

"Maybe you could have something that would say that only things you have around the house could be sold," Murphy said. "I don't think we can just make this blanket statement. It could be interpreted too many ways and can't be enforced."

Most municipalities already require residents to obtain permits to hold sales.

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