City officials are considering going permit-free for garage sales.

If the City Council approves the change, possibly in November, the city will conduct a one-year trial of not requiring residents to get a permit to host a garage sale. The current ordinance, which requires a permit, has been in place for 40 years.

In the end, the permit serves no purpose and has become a symbolic gesture, said Dana Burghdoff, Fort Worth’s assistant director of planning.

It doesn’t cost to get a permit, so there’s no revenue loss to the city, she said.

In 2017, the city issued 16,113 garage sale permits, Burghdoff told the City Council’s Housing and Neighborhood Services Committee on Tuesday.

Of those, 75 percent are done when residents call in, which has become a drain on staff’s time, she said. Because of high call volumes, some residents have waited as long as 30 minutes to get that permit.

The remaining 25 percent obtain their permits online, but there’s no way of knowing how many people don’t even get a permit, she said.

The full council will hear the proposal in a couple of weeks before making a decision.

Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray said the proposal deserves a look, particularly when the development department is understaffed and not meeting goals to issue building permits.

“It’s very concerning that we are having issues getting developers and projects through development,” Gray said. “We have an opportunity to say maybe this is not a major kind of issue with garage sales, that we should be focusing more on making sure we’re getting permits through, those things that are moving our city forward.”

When the city receives a complaint about a garage sale, Code Compliance looks into the complaint whether there’s a permit or not, Burghdoff said.

Code Compliance responded to 174 garage sale complaints this year, with the majority of them being the person is holding too many, she said.

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