Planning a yard sale in Pineville may prove to be more involved than ever before.
The town passed an ordinance in October that places new restrictions on the permits required for yard sales.
Although the town has always required a permit, the new restrictions state that a resident may only hold a yard sale once every three months, and only for one day from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., with one alternate day for rain.
Although these changes may not seem like much, town Planning Director Kevin Icard said they are necessary for the safety of Pineville's 7,600 residents.
"Most of the roads in Pineville are narrow and difficult to drive through," said Icard. "When there's a yard sale and both sides of the streets are lined with cars, it makes it even harder. Emergency vehicles need to be able to get down those roads if there's a call, and they wouldn't be able to with the street traffic."
Anyone who wants to hold a yard sale must come to the Town Hall at 200 Dover St. and register. The permit is free and helps town officials keep track of who's having yard sales and when.
In Pineville, yard sales have increased steadily. In 2007, there were four recorded sales; in 2010, there have been 40. While Icard said he can't say for sure if the increase has been a result of the recession, he said he wouldn't be surprised.
"Everyone's hurting right now," he said. "Businesses and individuals are all feeling (the effects of the economy,) and having a yard sale may be a small way to help."
Icard said he hasn't heard any outcry from residents over the new restrictions and hopes they understand why they were necessary.
"It wasn't because (the yard sales) were messy, but because safety was an issue," he said.
Capt. Les Gladden of the Pineville Fire Department agrees with Icard. Although he's never experienced a delay because of street traffic before, he said he can see it happening.
"The roads are small and people don't care," he said. "If there's a sale going on, they are going to park where they can to get to it."
Gladden also said there is a 15-foot clearance requirement on any street with parking and that a car's owner can be cited if they block the street.
"People let their tail ends stick out and make it hard to get around them," said Gladden. "They don't realize how wide a fire truck is and how hard it would be for us to get through."
Gladden worries for the safety of those who call the fire department during an emergency. "They say they will only be (at the sale) for a second, but a second could be the difference between saving someone's life or not."
Joe Griffin, who has lived in Pineville for 77 years and is its unofficial historian, said yard sales are popular in the town.
"Everyone has them and everyone goes to them," said Griffin. "Drive around on a Saturday morning and see how many are out."
He also said he doesn't understand why someone would need to hold more than four yard sales a year. "It seems excessive," said Griffin.
Darryl Spencer, who lives in Pineville's Woodside Falls neighborhood, said his Homeowners Association already has restrictions on how many yard sales can occur. "Our HOA puts out fliers to advertise for biannual yard sales in the community," said Spencer. "It makes for more prospective clients on one busy day."
He also thinks the permit and restrictions will work out.
"The restriction would only bother someone with too-frequent yard sales," said Spencer. "It wouldn't seem an imposition unless you are a professional yard sale person. Since the permit is free, and a resident is permitted one per quarter, it shouldn't be a problem for anyone in our area."
Icard said that there's really no way to tell if someone doesn't have a permit for their yard sale unless a resident calls and reports it.
"There wouldn't be a fine, but we would send the police to investigate the permit and shut them down if necessary."