Business owner sues town of Avon over policy banning roadside mascots, wavers

Town says wavers are driving hazard

AVON, Ind. - A local business owner is suing the town of Avon over a law banning roadside wavers used to advertise.

Victor Ruthig owns a Liberty Tax franchise in Avon. He said the business model is predicated on wavers luring business into the doors, and not allowing him to do so would be a death knell for his business.

"It's really a matter of survival," Ruthig said. "To us they are like the golden arches like McDonald's has. They are an icon not only in America, but they are an icon that you have to get in, and have your taxes filed."

Avon Town Manager Tom Klein said the wavers are moving signs and violate the town's sign ordinance.

Liberty Tax Service is located near the intersection of US 36 and Dan Jones Road. That intersection had 38 accidents in 2012, the second most accidents of any intersection in town last year.

Klein says the wavers are a hazard.

"We've had dancing mattresses, hotdogs, Halloween City-type person out there," Klein said. "Those meet the definition of moving signs. One of the purposes of our ordinance is not to distract drivers."

Liberty's attorney, Matt Price, said there is absolutely no evidence the wavers distract anyone.

"It is people texting and using their cellphones that affects traffic, not an innocuous waver," Price said. "There is advertising all over the side of the road."

Price also argues the ordinance violates the First Amendment. He has filed suit against the town of Avon and believes Liberty has a strong case.

The town of Avon fined Liberty for using the mascots. 

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