Sign Showdown Scheduled For Sunset (Poll)
Main Street business owner Charles Wasser is being summoned to court by Chester Borough for a sign ordinance violation.
The next chapter in the saga over the sign ordinance in Chester Borough since the adjournment of the first trial date for Charles Wasser, owner of Once Upon a Table, takes place at 7:30 p.m. May 23 at the Chester Borough Municipal Court.
The Road So Far
Wasser’s struggle with the borough and what he believed was an infringement of his first amendment rights first was reported on Patch back in March.
According to Wasser, this was the culmination of years of frustration with the borough for 'inconsistent' code enforcement that was 'hurting local business owners'.
A sign that was being used to promote his business was banned, but Wasser maintained that as an American, his right to free speech allowed him to make political statements on his sign board, no matter what the ordinance said.
"It is no longer promotional," Wasser said. "It is my protected right of free speech."
The Chester Borough governing body disagreed.
Davis sent the letter after it was decided by the council not to have the debate in the media.
At the same time, Davis went on record in the article in the Tribune, describing concern that Chester could become a “red light district” and that business owners should “know the rules” and “have business plan”.
The mayor speaking on the record prompted criticism from the council, as some members said Davis alluding to a Main Street filled with sex-oriented businesses was inappropriate and his other remarks harsh.
Davis said that he had a first amendment right to say what he wanted, and that “the public’s response to my statements has been positive.”
Public response on the topic and the mayor's thoughts can be found in the poll and several comments on the Mendham-Chester Patch site and a response letter to the editor published in the Observer-Tribune.
Wasser and the Borough will go before a judge tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the new Town Hall facility at 50 North Road. Patch will be there, so stay tuned for the next installment of the sign struggle.