Garage Sales and Yard Sales (and permits) in the Cities of Highland, Colton, Rialto, San Bernardino, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Redlands, Yucaipa and unincorporated San Bernardino County

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

People want to know how to get yard sale and garage sale permits in the East Valley, and they find this site because of this article about the City of San Bernardino’s yard sale ordinance.  Therefore, here is a chart to give a basic (but not complete) understanding of the rules and regulations regarding yard sales in the East Valley, here defined as the Cities of Colton, Rialto, San Bernardino, Grand Terrace, Loma Linda, Highland, Redlands, Yucaipa and unincorporated San Bernardino County such as Muscoy, Mentone, Oak Glen, Devore, Arrowhead Suburban Farms, Devore Heights, and Del Rosa.  Per the City Clerk of Loma Linda, there is no yard sale ordinance in the City of Loma Linda as of 10/17/2012.  Note also that homeowners associations (HOAs) probably have additional restrictions (particularly East Highlands Ranch) which you should look into.

City/Unincorporated Permit Required Permit Cost Where? Duration
Colton Yes $2, except charity, nonprofit, religious Finance Department 3 d, 8am-8pm
Grand Terrace Yes (Except Exemptions) $5 Finance Department 3 d, 8am-8pm
Highland Yes $7 Finance Department 3 d, 8am-8pm
Loma Linda N/A N/A N/A N/A
Redlands Yes $2.50 Treasurer 3 d or 2d each over consecutive weekends; 8 am-8pm
Rialto Yes (Except Exemptions) $5.40 Finance Department 3d, daylight
San Bernardino No (anomoly regarding Estate Sales) N/A N/A 3d, daylight
Yucaipa After 1st sale $2.50 (sales 2-4) Front Desk, City Hall 3d, 8am-8 pm
Unincorporated San Bernardino County No (See SBCC section 84.25.030(e) unless exceed standards of 84.10. N/A N/A 3d, 8am-5 pm
City/Unincorporated Frequency Display Signage Exemptions Ordinance Codified At Violation
Colton 1/quarter Not in PROW During, onsite Court sales Ord 1483 (1975); 0-3-1989 (1989) Colton Municipal Code Chapter 5.45 Misdemeanor
Grand Terrace 2/yr Not in PROW 2 onsite, unlit, 4ft area, 5 day limit, not on PROW, trees, fences, utility poles, removed at end Court sales, charitable, nonprofit, religious Ord 35 (1980) Grand Terrace Municipal Code Chapter 5.40 Infraction
Highland 3/12 mo Safety 1 onsite doublesided, 6 ft area, 5′ tall, 24 hours before until end. Court sales Ord 239 (1998) Highland Municipal Code section 5.04.370 Infraction
Loma Linda N/A N/A N/A N/A None N/A N/A
Redlands 3/12 mo Not in PROW, safety, only during sale Court sales Prior Code secs 24001-10; Ord 2684 (2007), 2779 (2012), Redlands Municipal Code Chapter 5.68 Infraction
Rialto 4/calendar yr only first weekend in March, June, September and December Not in PROW, front or side yards 2 onsite, 4ft area, 4directional signs, prohibited in PROW, >864 sq in., with permission of property owner. Nonprofits, Ord 1416 (2008) Rialto Municipal Code Chapter 5.69 Infraction; misdemeanor for <3/yr
San Bernardino 12/yr only on 3rd weekend of mo Not in PROW, safety, only during sale 3 onsite unlit 24 hr prior until end; 4 Directional 2 sq ft  on private property w/consent Estate sales as to frequency nonprofits as to frequency Ord MC-1344 (2011) San Bernardino Municipal Code Chapter 8.14 Infraction/misdemanor (woblette)
Yucaipa 4/12 mo Not in PROW 1 onsite, not in PROW Court sales Ord 102 (1992) Yucaipa Municipal Code Chapter 5.22 Infraction
Unincorporated San Bernardino County 4/yr Not in PROW 2 onsite, 4ft area, 4 directional signs, prohibited in PROW, 864 sq in., w/permission of property owner. None Ord. 411 (2007) San Bernardino County Code  Chapter 84.10 Infraction; misdemeanor for >3/yr

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. BE SURE TO CHECK WITH THE INVOLVED CITIES FOR CURRENT LAW AND FEES.

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708
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Fireworks in the City of San Bernardino, California (2012 Update)

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Happy Independence Day!

“Safe and Sane” fireworks are legally sold in the City of San Bernardino.  All fireworks are generally prohibited above the 210 Freeway in San Bernardino and near Perris Hill.  The City of San Bernardino Fire Department has a map and information about fireworks in this brochure.   Of course, all fireworks not approved by the State Fire Marshal are illegal in California.  Misusing legal fireworks (for example, making bottle rockets) is illegal in San Bernardino.

The San Bernardino Fire Department, particularly the Fire Prevention,  is out in force during the Fourth of July.  They have a variety of San Bernardino Municipal Code and California laws to enforce.  Even if you are not afraid of prosecution, fireworks are a leading cause of injury and property damage.

The San Bernardino City Fire Blog has some tips about fireworks.

A version of this post was published in 2011.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

How To Change A Code Enforcement Misdemeanor Into An Infraction

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

When I was a Deputy City Attorney in San Bernardino and the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, many of the code sections I prosecuted were alternate misdemeanors/infractions, also known as wobblettes to distinguish them from alternate felony/misdemeanors, which are known as wobblers. Usually, the code section will designate punishment and note if the charge is an alternate misdemeanor/infraction, or a code will have a general penalty section. Typically, the city prosecutor will have prosecutorial discretion on how to charge the violation or how to plea it out. If it is a straight misdemeanor, and the code does not have a provision allowing prosecutorial discretion in reducing it to an infraction, the prosecutor does not have the ability to reduce the charge to an infraction. Similarly, if it is a straight infraction, which are never punishable by jail time, the city prosecutor does not have the ability to make the charge a misdemeanor. Why would someone want a misdemeanor instead of an infraction? Perhaps they served jail time, possibly on a bench warrant, possibly on some other charge, and they want credit for time served in lieu of a fine.

Can a court reduce a code enforcement misdemeanor to an infraction? I have seen it done in San Bernardino both to straight misdemeanors and alternative misdemeanor/infraction cases. Penal Code section 17(b) is the authority many criminal judges are familiar with regarding wobblers. But what about wobblettes? Penal Code section 17(d) reads:

A violation of any code section listed in Section 19.8 is an infraction subject to the procedures described in Sections 19.6 and 19.7 when: (1) The prosecutor files a complaint charging the offense as an infraction unless the defendant, at the time he or she is arraigned, after being informed of his or her rights, elects to have the case proceed as a misdemeanor, or; (2) The court, with the consent of the defendant, determines that the offense is an infraction in which event the case shall proceed as if the defendant had been arraigned on an infraction complaint.

Penal Code section 19.8 refers to a variety of California code sections, but does not reference Municipal Code violations. Penal Code section 19.8 does refer to other offenses made subject to 17(d) by the Legislature, but presumably that means the California Legislature, and not a legislative body like a city council.

Straight misdemeanors were difficult at times, particularly violations of the California Fire Code. Sometimes a barrier to settlement was not the punishment (as far as fines), but the fact that the charge was a misdemeanor. The work-around was finding an alternate violation for the same conduct.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP
A: 1447 Ford St. #201
      Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 296-6708

Fireworks in the City of San Bernardino, California

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

“Safe and Sane” fireworks are legally sold in the City of San Bernardino.  All fireworks are generally prohibited above the 210 Freeway in San Bernardino and near Perris Hill.  The City of San Bernardino Fire Department has a map and information about fireworks in this brochure.   Of course, all fireworks not approved by the State Fire Marshal are illegal in California.  Misusing legal fireworks (for example, making bottle rockets) is illegal in San Bernardino.

The San Bernardino Fire Department, particularly the Fire Prevention,  is out in force during the Fourth of July.  They have a variety of San Bernardino Municipal Code and California laws to enforce.  Even if you are not afraid of prosecution, fireworks are a leading cause of injury and property damage.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
A: 300 E. State St. Suite 517

     Redlands CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 708-6055

Garage Sales and Yard Sales in the City of San Bernardino, California

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

When I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, a frequent complaint to code enforcement by residents, city staff, and elected officials, was yard sales in violation of the San Bernardino Municipal Code.  Since I was Deputy City Attorney, the ordinance has been changed.

As of this post, the blurb on the City of San Bernardino’s website says: “GARAGE/YARD SALE You are allowed to have a yard sale on the 3rd weekend of every month (“weekend” means Friday, Saturday & Sunday).  No signs are allowed to be posted on public property (i.e. utility poles).  Citations may be issued if conducting yard sale on non-designated weekends.  For more information they can call our number [909]  384-5205.”
That’s much better than when I was a city prosecutor.   You could only have a garage sale every six months, and the big kicker was that you could not have a yard sale, unless it was in your back yard.  You could have a garage sale, and that meant that the merchandise had to be in your garage.  For many residents, this was impossible because their garage was full.  As of this writing, that ordinance is still listed on the online municipal code, Chapter 5.68.  It has been repealed, do not rely on it.

Unfortunately, the ordinance has not been codified online.   You can get the codified version in the official copy of the Municipal Code in the City Clerk’s Office.  I called the City Clerk’s Office to obtain a copy of MC-1344, the current ordinance.  The deputy city clerk I spoke to  said she could email me a copy of  MC-1344 .  She very promptly did.  The ordinance, current as of this post, can be found here.

The highlights of the ordinance are as follows:

“Yard Sale” means the offer of sale of personal property open to the public conducted from or on a premise in any residential or commercial zone.  The term “Yard Sale” includes, but is not limited to, all sales entitled advertised or called “garage sale,” “lawn sale,” “yard sale,” “porch sale'”, [sic] patio sale”, [sic]  “estate sale”, [sic] “moving sale”,[sic] “flea market,” or “rummage”[sic] sale.  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.010(E).  [I typed it as found in the ordinance, including the unconventional switch from commas within the quotes, and the fact that rummage is quoted, but sale is not.]

Residents can’t have yard sales more than 12 times in a calendar year.  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.020(A).  Yard sales can’t be longer than three consecutive days.  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.020(B). Yard sales can only be held during daylight hours (which aren’t defined).  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.020(C).  Yard sales can only be conducted the third weekend of the month (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.020(D).

Only Personal Property (“property which is owned utilized or maintained by an individual or members of a residence or family and acquired in the normal course of living in or maintaining a residence. It does not include new merchandise or merchandise which was purchased for resale or obtained on consignment.”) can be sold at a yard sale.  No  Personal Property can be displayed in the public right-of way (Public right-of-way is undefined, but probably means sidewalk and parkway, on lots with sidewalks and/or parkways, and certainly in the street).  All “Personal Property
shall be arranged so that fire safety service and other officials may have access for inspection at all times during the sale.”  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.030.

Signage: Three unlighted signs not exceeding four square feet, only during the sale, only on the Yard Sale real property, they may be posted 24 hours before the sale and removed after the sale.  That last part contradicts the earlier sentence that “Such signs shall be displayed only during the period of the Yard Sale.”  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.040(A).  No more than four Directional signs, not larger than 2 square feet, may be placed on private property with the owner’s consent (but not in the public right-of-way).  San  Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.040(B) & (C).

Estate sales, as defined by the Code, are exempt from the limitations on frequency (12 times a month and the third weekend) and  require a permit.  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.050.  Non-profits, as defined by the Code, are exempt from the limitations on frequency listed for estate sales if the sale is on property owned or leased by the non-profit, and do not require a permit.  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.060.

The violation is a wobblette, an alternate misdemeanor or infraction. San Bernardino Municipal Code section 8.14.070.  When I prosecuted Chapter 5.68, it was a straight misdemeanor.

There are some problems with this ordinance.  It was cut and pasted from the previous Chapter 8.14.  Estate sales require a permit, though no permit process appears in the ordinance.  The ordinance defines “Department” and “Residential Zone” and then neglects to use those terms in the revised Chapter 8.14.  The first sentence of section 8.14.030 uses the term yard sale instead of “Yard Sale,” creating ambiguity as to whether the definition of “Yard Sale” found in 8.14.010(E) applies.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055