OV, estate sale group in sign dispute

Commercial ads not allowed on corners, manager insists
2013-06-20T00:00:00Z OV, estate sale group in sign disputePhil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 20, 2013 12:00 am  • 

An estate sales group is clashing with the Oro Valley government over street signs it puts up at intersections to direct customers to homes.

Laura Lamb, who owns The Girls Estate Sales along with Sheryl Swanson and her son, Daniel Lamb, said the business has been targeted by a town staffer who confiscates code-breaking signs she puts up advertising estate sales in Oro Valley. Lamb said the staffer impounded all her signs at several sales, breaking an understanding.

"A couple years ago, every once in a while we'd have a sale down there," Lamb said. "I called to get a permit, but was told in a wink-wink, nudge-nudge manner that if we just had the signs up on Saturdays for an estate sale every once in a while, it would be OK."

The signs are meant to direct motorists to estate sales. The Girls placed one directional sign at each intersection leading to the home at which the sale took place.

Lamb said she's stopped putting up signs, and is now determined to go through official channels to get her way. Meetings with town officials, including a sit-down with Mayor Satish Hiremath in May, have yielded a compromise - The Girls can now post signs outside houses where estate sales are taking place, but not on street corners.

Oro Valley Town Manager Greg Caton said town staffers are researching the issue and that he hopes he will reach a compromise that satisfies the company.

"It has been our opinion that they're a business putting out directional signs, and therefore in violation of our sign code. The compromise that we have made in recent weeks is agreeing to allow putting a sign on the property itself," Caton said. "We are evaluating it. It's under staff review at this point in time. We will see if there are some opportunities for compromise."

Lamb is not satisfied with the current compromise.

"They should allow estate sale signs in Oro Valley," she said. "If they would just do this and limit companies that put up signs to those that collect sales tax and have business licenses, they could, in effect, control who is putting the signs up, and it would be good for their citizens."

Lamb said estate sales are good for Oro Valley, and the sign code is too restrictive.

"We are helping them by driving people into their town on Saturday when they're coming to our sale," Lamb said. "On Saturday, when people are looking for the home, which is usually in a residential area, we try to give them directions from the nearest major intersection. Sometimes it's early in the morning and people are trying to look at a map and look at our directions. We don't want there to be an accident with our shoppers."

Caton said the town could cite repeat sign code violators, but does not intend to do so.

"What we want is code compliance," he said. "We want people to comply, and we work with them to do that. Sometimes it's just education of people who are just not familiar with our rules. Commercial advertisements are not allowed on street corners."

Lamb said she is aware of the rules and will follow them while pushing for what she wants.

"I'm just trying to follow the steps," Lamb said. "Trying to be patient."

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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