Battle In Wentzville Over Sidewalk Advertisement

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WENTZVILLE, MO. (KTVI) - They're called "sidewalk wavers" or "living billboards" and in Wentzville they're illegal.

The owner of the Liberty Tax Service franchise in Wentzville discovered the ordinance after hiring an employee to wear a Statue of Liberty costume on the sidewalk where she waved to drivers.

Jeff Teismann was warned his company could face a $500 fine.  That's when he decided to ask city leaders to review the ordinance.  The mayor of Wentzville says he's been contacted by several other businesses hoping the restriction will be lifted.

"As long as they don't get in the right of ways and stop traffic or impede traffic of any kind, we can put parameters around it," said Mayor Nick Guccione.

The owner of the Wentzville Cloud 9 Mattress Company is also hoping the city changes its ordinance.

Lisa Phillips purchased a blow-up costume an employee can wear. The costume advertises her business. She too was warned her company could face a fine for violating the city ordinance.

"We have our "Mattress Man" and we can`t use him," said Phillips.  "Our customers love knowing when we have a big sale and this is one way to let them know when that happens."

Critics of sidewalk wavers worry they are a distraction and can cause accidents but Teismann and Phillips feel those worries have been unfounded.

"I'm not aware of any city that's stopped allowing this for that reason," said Phillips.

Teismann attended Wednesday night's council meeting in Wentzville where he encouraged leaders to change the ordinance.

He was joined by Sarah Cone, a sidewalk waver dressed in her Statue of Liberty costume.  She continues to walk the sidewalk in front of Teismann's business, dressed in her costume.  She carries a sign that reads, "Give me liberty, or give me death."

Teismann says even though police can stop her for advertising, they can`t stop her from making a political statement.