Know where to get your garage sale permit?

Here’s a hint: You can’t do it online. And you have to show up in person Monday through Friday between 8 a.m.-4 p.m., with proof of residence, to receive the $15 permit that will allow you to hold a garage sale. Otherwise, you’re breaking the law.

Backing up a little bit, recall that this new city ordinance was part of the council’s recent attempts to balance the budget. The city estimated the fee will bring in $250,000 in revenue, over and above the costs of implementing it and overseeing it. And it’s hard to argue with the stated intention of the permit, which is to drive the “professional” garage-salers out of business.

But the idea of having to drive to one of three locations (7901 Goforth1818 Westmoreland or 3112 Canton) to obtain a garage sale permit doesn’t seem very customer-friendly to me. Surely, there is some way to handle this online or even by mail? Another bummer: No refunds if your sale is rained out or you wake up on Saturday and just don’t feel like dragging everything out.

Being conservative, I’m figuring it would take about two hours to get in a car, drive to one of the locations, wait in line, produce proof of residency, pay my fee, get my permit and then get back in the car and drive back to work — my garage sale profits are already in the red $15 for the permit, $10 or so for gasoline and $30-$50 in personal time value (or more), and I haven’t even sold my first gently-used shirt for $1 yet.

The idea behind this program seems laudable, but the implementation sure seems to smack of government bureaucracy run unintentionally amok.

By |2010-10-05T10:53:16-05:00October 5th, 2010|City Hall, News|9 Comments

About the Author:

RICK WAMRE is president of Advocate Media. He also writes a monthly column and blogs about neighborhood issues. Email him at                                                  


  1. Stephen October 12, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    I had my sale this past weekend. It was a success despite all the obstacles the city has put in place. There seems to be a misunderstanding about the permit. It is $15 per sale, not per year as much of the media have stated. I asked the nice lady who sold me the permit at the Westmoreland animal services if the permit would get me two sales and she said no, you need a permit for each sale @ $15 each, but you can have two a year. So that’s $30 annual cost if you have the two, which is higher than the initial number of $25 that was being tossed around. Thankfully, this will be my last for a while.

    Oh, and no code inspector stopped by to check permits.

  2. Tinabeena October 11, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    I agree with TexianGal 100%. First it was dogs running loose, so let’s make everybody spay their dogs and get a permit to breed puppies. So, the honest people pay the price and the same people as before are letting the same unaltered dogs run loose. Now the whole city is being punished because someone down the block has a garage sale every weekend? Why couldn’t the offenders been fined and leave it at that? I love to go to garage sales, but I sure won’t be having one myself. The city has made it too much hassle. Thanks council members!

  3. Rick Wamre October 7, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    Sorry, Granny, but I think you misread the city’s link. They are working to make permits available online in “spring 2011”, but they’re not available online now.

  4. Granny October 7, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    BTW, TexianGal, you’re in good company. There’s been lots of “rampanytnoncompliance.”

  5. Granny October 7, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    The part of the ordinance that limits Garage Sales to garages (!) has been in effect for MANY YEARS! Yard sales have never been legal.

    The only new part of the ordinance is the requirement for a permit.

    Sorry that it’s taken you this long to learn the law.

  6. TexianGal October 7, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    I went to the online site – did you know that you have to have the sale INSIDE a building on the site?! That means my house or garage? Right! I have no garage – so that means I have to have strangers come into my home?! I don’t think so!

    Wouldn’t it have been easier to just ticket the frequent sales (since we’re obviously going to have a compliance person roaming the neighborhoods)? This was ill-conceived, knee-jerk passed, and will result in rampant noncompliance!

    Bad ordinance!

  7. Granny October 6, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    AND you can cancel your sale online, too. Just in case it rains.

  8. Granny October 6, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    You CAN get your permit online. Details at

  9. Stephen October 5, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    I agree…I’m having a garage sale this weekend. Wish I had done it two weeks ago.

Comments are closed.