Resident gets creative to comply with Little Falls sign ordinance

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor 

Kelly Toso of Little Falls has been holding a garage sale for each of the past 13 years. This year, she found herself in a quandary when it came time to draw people to the sale.

Kelly Toso painted the words “Garage Sale” with an arrow on the family van to point shoppers to her sale. The family also parked three other vehicles in strategic places in the neighborhood, bearing signs directing shoppers to the sale.

When she got her city utility billing with an explanation that the updated city sign ordinance would be enforced, she realized she could not post garage sales signs around her neighborhood as in the past.

Toso said she tried to read the 18-page document. “It’s written so only an attorney can understand it,” she said. And, she couldn’t find section 5.99, which outlines the penalty for violating the ordinance.

So, she said, she got a little creative.

“We really tossed around how to advertise the event,” said Toso. She had used easel signs in the past, and her husband suggested she put one on top of a car.

First, Toso called City Hall asking whether it was against the sign ordinance to post a sign for her garage sale on a vehicle. She was told, as long as the vehicle was legally parked, it was fine.

Kelly Toso enlisted the help of her daughter and a friend to stand on a corner and hold a sign directing traffic to her garage sale several blocks away.

Then, getting a little more creative, she asked whether kids could hold a sign on a corner. That, she was told, was fine, too, as long as the signs weren’t stuck in the ground.

Toso rounded up four vehicles and strategically parked them. Three carried signs pointing to her garage sale. On the fourth, she used vehicle paint on the window to write “Garage Sale” with a directional arrow.

Finally, Toso enlisted the help of her daughter, Kylie, and her friend Julia Noyes. The two girls held a garage sale sign and stood on a corner several blocks from the sale.

Toso’s efforts were rewarded as shoppers lined up at her sale. “It was a desperate measure to get people to my sale,” she said. “It was a little tricky.”