Editor’s Note: Steve Ganak, a Precinct 8 resident, asked me to post the following memo ahead of next month’s Town Meeting. Steve is looking to change the town’s bylaws regarding yard sales. I’ve entered it exactly as Steve submitted it to me. Thanks. - Paul
My name is Steve Banak, living at 11 Hurley St. (precinct 8) in Belmont.
Please picture this.
It’s a warm summer morning in June. It’s the weekend. Time to wind down from a hectic week. Time for our morning coffee.
The perfect spot is our screened-in porch overlooking our garden.
As soon as my wife and I sat down to a peaceful conversation we were disturbed by the thud of many doors slamming.
We looked to see what’s happening on our quiet street.
Our neighbor is having another yard sale.
We are not against private sales, not at all.
However, this past summer this resident has conducted 13 yard sales – almost every weekend – Saturday – Sunday for 7 weeks. This is truly excessive. One uncaring person has hijacked our summer and has disturbed the peace of our neighborhood by having 13 private sales.
Our driveways were blocked. Cars were parked in front of the fire hydrant.
There is much more traffic on our street than usual. My 90 year old neighbor’s walk as well as her driveway were block (sp) by cars so her MBTA ride was unable to pick her up until she walked down the street with her walker where it was clear of cars.
Since this is a quiet street very near the Winn Brook School, it is not uncommon for kids to ride their bikes on our street.
This is a safety issues (sp) where there is more traffic than usual and it would be sad, very sad if there would be an accident involving little kids on bikes.
It is these annoyances that energized me to present a bylaw at town meeting limiting private sales to 3 a year (Saturday and Sunday) for a total of 6 days a year. Sales will start at 8:30am-5:30pm and all sale items put away by 6 pm.
In order to present this bylaw I had to gather more than 120 qualified signatures of registered voters. Ellen Cushman, our town clerk, noted that there was an even distribution of all the precincts in Belmont so people from every precinct have recognized that these excessive yard sales can be a problem. I’ve heard it happens in the Lexington Street area and possibly in the Grove Street area too.
In fact, our neighboring towns of Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington, and Weston, Medford, to name a few, have ordinances to prevent this from happening. These towns have recognized this as a problem and have taken steps to prevent this from happening in their town. This Belmont bylaw to be is essential the same as theirs.
The bylaw states that to have a yard sale you need a permit from the town clerk. This can be done either in person or on line (sp) to the Town Clerk. The software is already set up (similar to registration of dogs and cats) and those wanting a yard sale will get permission right away. Ellen Cushman has stated that this bylaw is no problem for her and her staff and easily implemented. For instance, if you wake up on a Saturday at 6am and wish to have a yard sale, go on line to the Clerk and you’ll get your permit. The Clerk’s office sends this report to the police and the sector police can check to see if everything is run properly. Having more than 6 yard sales a year will subject that person to a $300 fine.
The Clerk’s office will post it on Belmont-ma.gov(free advertising) and if any other blog wishes to pick up this information up they too can post it on their web-site.
Here is a bylaw that protects our neighbors from this sort of nuisance and insures the quality of a quiet life in Belmont. Please vote for this bylaw on May 5th at town meeting. I urge you to pass this bylaw.