Before setting up tables to display items and putting aside some cash to make change, Grove City residents planning to hold a garage sale need to make sure they have one additional thing: a permit.
Residents must complete an application and have it approved by the city prior to the first day of their sale.
"It's a really simple process, but it's one we ask our residents to do," said Molly Frasher, the city's development secretary.
As the city staffer who greets residents as they enter the city building, Frasher is the go-to person when it comes to garage-sale applications.
"There isn't a week that goes by during the sale season that I don't have people coming in and saying they didn't realize they had to have a permit," Frasher said.
Neighbors will often complain about a garage sale that is being held without a permit, and Grove City police will respond and shut down a sale that has not been approved, she said.
A resident who violates any provision of the city's code regarding garage sales could be given a ticket for a fourth-degree misdemeanor and may be subject to up to a $250 fine, Frasher said.
Most of the time, a police officer will simply close the sale and ask the resident to obtain a permit, she said.
"You can get the permit and have your sale up and running again in a half hour," Frasher said. "We have the regulations in place in part for people's safety, so that we don't have garage sales popping up all the time on a particular street."
Often, residents on a street will plan to hold their garage sales at the same time to minimize the disruption in their neighborhood and maximize the number of customers, Frasher said.
"Each person who is going to hold a garage sale has to get their own permit approved," she said. "We don't issue a permit covering multiple sales on a street."
There is no fee for a garage-sale permit. To apply, residents must complete and turn in the appropriate form between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at City Hall, 4035 Broadway.
"If you're planning to hold a sale over the weekend, you've got to get that permit approved during the week because City Hall isn't open on weekends," Frasher said.
Only two garage-sale permits can be issued for a single address in any 12-month period, she said.
Permits are valid for up to three consecutive days. Garage sales cannot be held after sunset.
City code defines a garage sale as the display or advertisement for sale of five or more articles of tangible personal property in any residential-zoning district. Residential zoning includes single- and multi-family houses, apartments and condominiums.
The code also provides guidelines for signs advertising sales.
Signs are not permitted on utility poles, street or stop signs, or public property, Frasher said.
"That's one of the big things we're trying to manage, the number of signs and making sure people remove them in a timely manner," she said.
Residents can place one sign at their house and two signs off site. The signs cannot be posted earlier than the night before the first day of the sale and must be removed no later than the close of the final day of the sale. The signs cannot exceed 3 square feet.
"We're not trying to make things difficult for people," Frasher said.
"The permit process is really easy and it's a way you can advertise your garage sale," she said.
The city posts a list of the garage sales that will be held each week on its website, grovecityohio.gov.
"It's free advertising and we update it at the end of each day," Frasher said.
More information about the garage-sale regulations is available on the city's website or by calling 614-277-3000 weekdays.