WAYNE, NJ – During the Council Comments moment at the last Wayne Town Council Meeting, Councilman-At-Large Joe Schweighardt talked about clothing bins and illegal signs in and around Wayne.
“With the beginning of each year, I take a look at where we’ve been and perhaps where we could be going and there are a number of issues I plan to address over the next few meetings,” said Schweighardt. “At a previous meeting, I passed out photos of a clothing bin that was not only full but surrounding it were various plastic bags filled with clothes and there was one half a package of diapers – unused.”
“My concern is the clothing bins are not kept up according to ordinance and the contracts we have with the owners,” continued Schweighardt. “The whole syndrome of clothing bins and what they are supposed to be doing; It’s something we should look at, despite the fact that we are the most caring and giving people on this planet. If the clothing bins are being abused, I think something should be done about it.”
“The other item is the continued use of signs on utility poles, and freestanding signs,” said Schweighardt. “We have an ordinance against them, but it’s a matter of policing. This past weekend Huffman and Koos out of Fairfield went out of business again! There were signs lined up on the ramp going into Willowbrook for both 23 and 46 about four feet apart. There must’ve been fifteen of them in each location: ‘Going out of business sale.’”
Schweighardt finished with: “Signs I saw today: ‘Gypsy Fortuneteller in Willowbrook are going to make all the bad spells go away.’ ‘Lose 30 pounds in 30 days.’ ‘Sell your home for cash.’ A lot of those signs I feel are insulting to business taxpayers in Wayne who have similar businesses. So, I think that’s an area that requires some focus, and I plan to look at both of them as the weeks go by.
Wayne Mayor Chris Vergano addressed Councilman Schweighardt’s comments, saying: “The Administration would have absolutely no problem supporting an ordinance to ban clothing bins 100% from the township. They serve no public purpose.”
Vergano spelled out how the township receives no tax benefits from the bins and that there is a process for registering and policing that is not being followed. “Most of them don’t comply with our zoning ordinances,” the Mayor said. “They appear in the middle of the night, or on a weekend when we don’t have employees working. So, councilman if you would like to pursue the ban of them from the Township, we would be happy to support you on that and have the ordinance drawn up for you.”
“The second subject you brought up are the signs, particularly the Huffman Koos which has been going out of business for the last five years now,” continued Vergano.
He told Councilman Schweighardt of how he has sent the police department to Huffman Koos and threatened to arrest them and threatened to write tickets and had crews remove their signs off of the highways in town. Vergano spoke of how dangerous it is for his crews and for the individuals who place the signs on these busy roads.
Vergano also said the signs don’t work: “And the stupid thing is, if they really believe that people who are driving at forty-five miles per hour and see forty-two signs that say Huffman Koos is going out of business again is going to stop in their store, they are mistaken.”
“We’re going to start issuing summons, if we haven’t already, to the managers of the stores and have them here in court and have them meet our two municipal judges.
“But, it’s very frustrating,” finished Vergano. “They come Friday night after dark, and we have the police looking for them. We have tried everything.”
It will be interesting to see how the Town Council addresses these issues moving forward.