Pinellas Park's sign patrol puts damper on big garage sale
By ANNE LINDBERG
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000
PINELLAS PARK -- For at least the past 15 years, residents in Autumn Run and Beacon Run have celebrated spring and fall with a massive garage sale.
The semiannual events have become so big that some roads in the subdivisions become almost impassable from the traffic.
The success was due in part to the advertising: fliers and yard signs posted along the main entrances to the subdivisions.
This year, the sale didn't do so well, probably because the yard signs vanished the day before the sale.
Residents blamed overzealous code enforcement officers, but they were wrong.
The culprits were from Pinellas Park's public works department, which took over the sign patrol six to eight months ago after the chore became too big for code enforcement.
"They don't have the right to put signs on public property," said department head Marvin Hahn.
An evaluation of the new arrangement depends on how you feel about stray signs in the public right of way.
The yard sale folks in Autumn Run and Beacon Run were unhappy.
The removal of the signs -- particularly before the 5 p.m. traffic rush -- meant a drop-off in turnout and a 25 to 30 percent decrease in sales, neighbors said.
"It was like a dirty trick kind of thing," said Charles Raymond, an Autumn Run resident who had a driveway full of stuff for sale. "It's not neighborly."
Most people with whom he talked thought the enforcement of the sign ordinance was a bit overzealous.
"I think they're starting to split some hairs here," Raymond said. "It was kind of like the buzz around the neighborhood. ... People were grousing about it."
"As many complaints as we get from people who put them up," Hahn said, "we get more complaints from residents that they are up."
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