January 18, 2022
WATERTOWN, S.D.–A judge has sided with the city of Watertown in a sign dispute with a former city councilman.
Josh Weyh, owner of Wise Pizza at 722 West Kemp Avenue, was fined by the city last July for violating city ordinance by flying three “feather flag” type signs on the north side of his business.
He received a written notice from the city to take them down. Three weeks later, the flags were still up, and at that point, he was issued a citation. Weyh chose to take the city to court rather than pay the fine.
Weyh took the witness stand in his own defense today, saying the signs were simply meant to, “capture attention” as people drove by, and hopefully get them to come into his restaurant and, “enjoy a good meal.”
City Attorney Matt Roby called Code Enforcement Officer Brent Mohrmann as his only witness, and introduced photos of the signs that were taken by Mohrmann as evidence.
Following the hour long bench trial, Magistrate Judge Patrick McCann sided with the city. He fined Weyh $50 and ordered him to pay $72.50 in court costs.
After the verdict was announced , KWAT News Director Mike Tanner asked Weyh about the judge’s ruling…
Weyh testified that he takes the flags down at the close of business each day to keep them in good shape…
City Attorney Matt Roby…
Roby says it was a bit awkward prosecuting a case against someone he sat near the city council meetings for four years…
Mohrmann testified that he did not know why feather-flag type signs are banned in the city, and under cross examination from defense attorney Stacia Jackson, he said he never personally received a single complaint about Weyh’s signs.
Roby, in his closing arguments, stated the signs can become, “an aesthetic issue the city should be allowed to regulate.”
Weyh has 30 days to appeal the verdict. He has not decided if he’ll do that.