It may be May, but neighbors are pitted against neighbors in Plantation over a well-known Christmas display.
For seven years Mark and Kathy Hyatt have had an elaborate display at their home on Northwest 14th Street – but some of their neighbors aren’t all that appreciative.
"He just doesn't care that he has neighbors,” said one resident, who only gave her first name, Barbara.
She said the Hyatts’ decorations are beautiful and well done, but the thousands of people who come to see it for a month create a major roadside danger. Starting the day after Thanksgiving and running through Christmas, those looking to take in a little holiday spirit flood the tiny cul de sac of nine homes.
“I'm afraid there is going to be a major accident. Ambulances cannot get through, they can't even get to Hiatus Road,” she said. “Kids can't even play outside.”
Now, at least two to three neighbors have gone to the mayor and council members demanding the city dim the display, called the “Hyatt Extreme Christmas.” It was named a winner on NBC 6’s “Holiday Lights on 6” contest last year.
Mayor Diane Bendekovic said she has met with every resident on the cul de sac to explain that legally she can’t do anything.
"No, they're within the codes,” she said. “We’ve have building out, inspectors out, we've had everyone that the neighbors have requested, and the Hyatts are within their means.”
Barbara said the amount of trash and litter left behind each night is overwhelming.
But Mark Hyatt, the creator of the Hyatt Extreme Christmas, said that's simply not true. He employs volunteers to steer traffic, help with parking, and foot traffic.
"I make sure every night that when the display is turned off at 10:00, I go out and pick up trash myself,” he said. “I put receptacles out to make sure that doesn't happen.”
Nearly 200,000 lights, a Ferris wheel, a ski lift, Santa's workshop, and much more brings in a steady stream of families. Hyatt said he is thanked over and over for adding to the Christmas spirit.
He has put up the display for seven years at their current home, and 18 years at their previous one. Hyatt plans to start setting up again in September, and said he feels folks are blowing things out of proportion.
"They're entitled to their opinions and I respect that,” he said. “I would say the best thing my neighbors could do is embrace this. Christmas will happen. It happens every year.”
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