Topeka city officials have backed off plans to change the way they enforce an ordinance dealing with temporary signs for garage sales.
    City spokesman David Bevens said Thursday that officials this week considered changing practices, including hiring three part-time employees to work Thursday through Sunday enforcing sign regulations.
    But later, Bevens told The Topeka Capital-Journal that after more review and input from the city’s legal department, the idea was discarded.
    “The city cannot turn a blind eye to times when violations are the most likely to occur only to enforce the ordinance on days they are not,” he said.
    The ordinance prohibits freestanding temporary signs on public rights of way and on private property without the owner’s permission. City workers are empowered to confiscate the signs — and they’ve been doing it regularly enough that the city is getting complaints.
    Garage sale signs are one of the issues most frequently revisited by the City Council, with new ordinances having been adopted at least five times since 1994. A number of Topekans in recent months have written letters to the editor of The Capital-Journal expressing anger because the city stepped up its enforcement of sign rules.
    Bevens said city officials are sensitive to the desire of people to post garage sales signs in the public right of way, which is generally the area between the sidewalk and street curb. But he noted that putting such signs in that area violates city ordinance.
    That ordinance allows people to place garage sale signs in their own yards and on the private property of others, provided the owner allows it, between 5 p.m. Thursday and 5 p.m. Sunday.
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    City of Topeka: http://www.topeka.org
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    Information from: The Topeka Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com