Vehicles for sale: It's the<BR>'where' that's the problem

Balancing private-property rights with concerns about safety and appearance of the city have Kingman officials scrambling for an answer for people who put for-sale signs on their vehicles.

Residents' complaints about increased parking of vehicles for sale along busy streets caused the city to look for a solution.

The parking of vehicles for sale on other people's property created a problem not covered by code enforcement ordinances.

Parking vehicles for sale only with permission of a property owner was tried through an ordinance passed in 2001.

The city's code officer said enforcement was too difficult.

A prohibition of parking vehicles for sale anywhere but at the personal residence of the vehicle owner was passed in November.

And that prohibition has some residents irate.

The Kingman City Council put the issue back on its agenda and heard from several upset residents during Monday's meeting.

"I think you should restore the right of the people to sell their private property," Earl Osgood said.

"Limiting the time to weekends and getting permission (from the property owner) is a good thing."

The ordinance passed in 2001 required individuals to get and display written permission from property owners before a vehicle could be displayed for sale.

Vacant lots where ownership was difficult to determine became a problem for enforcement of that ordinance.

Some business owners felt pressured by good public relations to give permission when they would rather not have.

John Gilman lives on Seneca Street and has allowed friends to display vehicles for sale on his property.

That violates the new ordinance.

"A friend in Golden Valley would likely have gone into bankruptcy without the help of selling a car from my yard," Gilman said.

"I believe I should be able to do that without the city making it a violation."

Kingman resident Mark Zimmer asked about for-sale signs on a vehicle his wife would drive to work.

"We did not intend to follow people to places of employment and check the parking lots," code enforcement officer Carl Allen said.

"However, parking that vehicle out front every day would be a violation."

The 2001 ordinance was adapted from similar laws in other cities after extensive discussion by the police department, the Kingman Traffic Safety Committee and other staff people.

Allen said the ordinance had too many enforcement difficulties and determined that it was unworkable.

After researching ordinances from other cities across Arizona and the United States, the current ordinance banning the display of vehicles for sale anywhere but at the vehicle owner's residence was presented to the Kingman City Council in October.

The vote to approve was 6-0 with Councilman Frank McVey absent.

"The ordinance has been successful in reducing the number of cars displayed," Allen said.

"Only a few warnings were written with most people cooperating."

City Attorney Bob Taylor confirmed McVey's statement that cars displayed at the Route 66 Fun Run with for sale signs would be in violation of the new ordinance.

However, the situation could be resolved with the event's special-use permit required by the city.

Kingman Police Chief Robert DeVries and Allen have talked with several residents about the ordinance following the Monday council meeting.

Allen can be reached at 753-2177 or written comments can be mailed to him at the Kingman Police Department.

"I would like to hear from people on both sides of the issue," Allen said.

"Ideas that would help solve the problem are especially welcome."