Neighbor testifies in civil trial of family fighting city of Plantation to keep holiday display
City, some neighbors claim attraction brings noise, traffic, trash to area
PLANTATION, Fla. – A neighbor testified Friday in the civil trial of a Plantation family who is being sued by the city to stop putting up their elaborate holiday display.
The city claims the display, which consists of 200,000 lights, is a nuisance for the city and its residents.
The city is asking a Broward County judge to stop the Hyatts from setting up the display, which has attracted thousands of people to the neighborhood each year.
Neighbors have argued that the display creates lots of noise, traffic and trash.
Mark and Kathy Hyatt listened to testimony from a neighbor Friday, who has lived in the area for 30 years.
Nina Fornalski has offered parking on her property for the visitors that come year after year, and said that everything was going well until a safety zone was implemented.
She said it brought lots of confusion with visitors, who didn't know where to park, creating a bit of a traffic jam along the roadway.
"Once they initiated that quote-on-quote safety zone, the police would stop traffic," Fornalski said. "And at that point, instead of people taking their families down the sides of the roads, they were under the impression that the road was closed off. That they closed a public road off and then they would walk in the streets. They would walk on the sides too, but it did put more people in the streets."
The elaborate interactive display consists of billowing snow, a Santa and even a pony. It was even featured on ABC's "Great Christmas Light Fight."
The Hyatts claim their religious freedom and property rights are being interfered with.
The city argues that they don't have a problem with the display as long as it isn't an interference to the community. They are leaving it up to the judge to figure out how much the display should be scaled back so that it doesn't interfere with the neighborhood.
The case is wrapped up Friday afternoon. The judge said she will look over evidence and make her decision at a later date.
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