Ordinance changes have recently been made by the City Commission in regard to estate sales.

Ordinance changes have recently been made by the City Commission in regard to estate sales.

Photo provided by Aaron’s Estate Sales

Bloomfield Hills amends estate sale ordinance

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published October 4, 2022

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Estate sales can now last for three consecutive days, among other changes decided on by the Bloomfield Hills City Commission at a Sept. 13 meeting.

The proposal to make certain amendments passed 3-1. Mayor Susan McCarthy, City Commissioner Brad Baxter and City Commissioner Lauren Fisher voted in favor of the changes, and Mayor Pro Tem Alice Buckley voted against them.

At the Bloomfield Hills City Commission meeting, several residents and estate sale company representatives were in attendance for the agenda item in which the commission considered amendments to the in-home-sales/estate sale ordinance.

The commission discussed amendments involving signage, the number of days estate sales are allowed to be held, the promotion of sales through mass media, and the display of sale items in garages.

“I think the estate sale companies that are the most respected and the most respectful towards the police and their neighbors are also the people who are not willing to do an estate sale in Bloomfield Hills for only two days because they can not get what they think the residents deserve in terms of revenue,” Fisher said.

Buckley spoke at the meeting from the perspective of someone who has been affected by an inconvenient estate sale.

“We had an estate sale in our neighborhood this past year, and I live right next door to the home, and it was very distressing. We have very narrow streets, and if you are extending it for a third day you are absolutely now cutting a week day,”  Buckley said.

Leaving for work in the morning, coming home, mail delivery, lawn service and snow removal were among the everyday occurrences she said could be disturbed by adding an extra day.

“I think we are taking away rights and safety features that this ordinance provided to them by making these changes,” Buckley said.

Fisher said that local law enforcement has since developed new procedures for communicating clear guidelines to people holding estate sales.

Kris Bauer, the president of the Trowbridge Farms Association, started off the public comment portion of the meeting by proposing changes to the ordinance regarding three counts: revising to a restriction of no more than three days for a sale to be held, removing the advertising ban, and removing the restriction of display and sales in storage areas and garages.

Bauer said she has a unique perspective with estate sales, as she is typically in contact with every family in her neighborhood who holds them.

“Nobody wants to hold an estate sale, and no one is abusing the system. Estate sales are an inconvenient part of life, and while they can be disruptive, we must also find empathy for those undertaking the daunting task,”  Bauer said.

Baxter spoke in support of some of the changes. “If my neighbor had a death in the family and they had to sell the contents of their home, as a good neighbor, I think I would be able to put up with a little bit of inconvenience so they could do what they needed to do to liquidate the estate.”

During the meeting, several representatives from estate sale companies spoke on the proposed amendment changes, especially on adding a third day and allowing directional signs.

The commission decided that they were not ready to vote on the signage concerns, but they did vote on making other amendments.

Estate sales are now allowed to last three consecutive days rather than two. The ordinance was also changed to permit promoting a sale through personal invitation or by social media, and continues to prohibit advertising in newspapers, on the radio, on television or through telemarketing.

Sale of goods is now restricted to the living area of the home and the garage. Items still may not be sold or displayed on the driveway, front yard or any locations visible to the street.

The agenda packet for this meeting can be found online at bloomfieldhillscitymi.documents-on-demand.com.