SUMMERVILLE — Town Council backed off a proposal to regulate yard sales and dropped its size limits on political signs Wednesday.
Both measures stirred up controversy this week over the limits of government regulation.
Council voted unanimously to delay voting on the yard-sale ordinance until after a public hearing tonight.
The new ordinance would not allow garage or yard sales more than once a quarter, would limit sales to one day, would not allow multi-family sales unless sponsored by a nonprofit group and would not allow selling goods from outside that household.
"The public has some concerns about this issue," Councilman Aaron Brown said. "We're dealing with a tough economy right now."
Councilman Howard Bridgman agreed. "I think the ordinance as it is written is too restrictive, and I don't think it can be enforced," he said. "A lot of people use garage sales to get by one month to another, and I don't want to get in the way of that."
Councilman Ricky Waring also said he has heard a lot of complaints about the proposal.
"I agree with Mr. Brown that we have better things to deal with than garage sales," Waring said.
The town's planning department said it needs rules on yard sales because of complaints about people who haul junk onto their yards to sell every weekend. Councilman Bob Jackson said the town already can use state business law to handle those complaints.
Meanwhile, council dropped the town's size limits on campaign signs after Town Attorney Mark Stokes said the restrictions might not be legal.
Waring made the motion to drop the size limits from the town's sign ordinance.
Councilman Bob Flowers agreed. "I don't see how we can go against what our attorney advises," Flowers said. "That's what he's here for."
Bridgman urged council to keep the size limits, arguing that residents want the town to limit campaign signs. He cited Goose Creek's ordinance, which also restricts the size of signs and has never been challenged in court.
Councilmen Mike Dawson and Bob Jackson also argued for the restrictions.
"I'd hate to see 4-by-8 signs all over town," Jackson said.
Council voted 4-3 to remove the size restrictions, with Brown and Mayor Berlin G. Myers voting with Waring and Flowers.
But council agreed to keep other restrictions in the town's sign ordinance. No two signs for the same candidate can be within 100 feet of each other, and campaign signs can't go up more than 30 days before an election. Stokes said those restrictions might also be challenged in court.