Virginia man fighting County over right to keep toilet decoration in yard

Mechanicsville-man fighting County over right to keep toilet decoration in yard

Mechanicsville, Va. (WWBT) - Mechanicsville-native Chuck Cassick is a professional landscaper by trade, but is known for his tacky Christmas displays every year.

Cassick says he puts up over 60,00 lights each holiday season complete with inflatables, music and reindeer on his roof.

“I don’t like the same thing over and over again,” said Cassick. “It’s different, different is good.”

Seven months later, he’s almost finished taking them all of his decorations down, but he said he keeps the odd centerpieces to his seasonal displays - two toilets and a urinal - up all year round.

I’ve been putting those as part of my display, the teenagers love it they take selfies with it," said Cassick.

During the winter months, the toilets and urinal can be seen displayed with lights coming out of them, but in the summer Cassick sad he converts them into improvised flowerpots where he houses his cactus plants.

During the winter months, the toilets and urinal can be seen displayed with lights coming out of them, but in the summer Cassick sad he converts them into improvised flowerpots where he houses his cactus plants.
During the winter months, the toilets and urinal can be seen displayed with lights coming out of them, but in the summer Cassick sad he converts them into improvised flowerpots where he houses his cactus plants. (Source: NBC12)

He said it’s a favorite for many in his front-yard display.

“There was one boy the second year I had it out and it it was gone,” said Cassick. “The boy asked for it so I brought it back out and the boy came back and he loved it, I guess he liked the humor.”

But Hanover County doesn’t see anything funny about his decor. According to court documents, the county is suing Cassick if he doesn’t get rid of the toilets and urinal by Monday.

The County says the the toilet-display is in violation of County code section 26-293 which states all trash stored on the property must be stored in tightly covered, leakproof containers or otherwise shielded from view so that such trash is not visible by someone standing at ground level from outside the property.

But Cassick disagrees with the county, saying that his display has been re-purposed into a yard decoration.

“This is now a flower pot for the summer, it’s a Christmas decoration for the winter. It’s re-purposing” said Cassick. “It once was a toilet, now it’s not.”

Cassick says the toilets have been on display for over a decade or more without issue.

“If they want me to take these down then they’re going to have to ask everybody in the County to take their flower pots down too,” said Cassick.

This isn’t the first time he’s butted heads with they County over the right to have his display.

Chuck says the county charged him with a Misdemeanor for the display in 2004, but back then the judge sided with Chuck.

"The judge dismissed the case and corrected the county and told them to stop doing this to their residents, said Cassick. “The judge now said that if he was out riding around he would want to see a toilet on display and that the public would get offended.”

Cassick could face up to a $200 fine if he doesn’t take his display down and the court rules against him.

Though he says it might be easy for some to back down and get rid of their displays he says he’s standing up to County in defense of his right to free expression.

“The easy thing isn’t always the right thing to do the right thing to do is stand up for my rights, this is my freedom of expression which is a first amendment right,” said Cassick.

Cassick said the County also asked him to remove his Christmas decorations, and the bins filled with decorations from his front yard, but he argues that it’s taken him months to do so because of bad weather, and not having enough time off work to take them down sooner.

“I’m still taking some lights down,” said Cassick. The bins aren’t full the ones I’ve filled up I took away to storage."

Cassick said even after his diplays aren taken down he’ll have to start putting back up by August in order to to get his tacky light display ready in time for the holiday seasons.

Cassick said despite this he still won’t take his toilets down.

“Citizens should stick up for their rights,” said Cassick. “Not everybody expresses themselves the same way that’s on good thing about the county, everyone’s a little different.”

Chuck has a court appearance scheduled for Monday.

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