Flower Hill considers preparations for holiday lights and hurricanes

Flower Hill considers preparations for holiday lights and hurricanes
The Village of Flower Hill is preparing for the Christmas season with a 250,000-light display on Sunnyvale Road. (File photo)

It may be a few months before it begins to look like Christmas, but the Flower Hill Board of Trustees has already started to prepare for the holiday season.

Specifically, the board has been preparing for an event that marks the beginning of the Christmas season in the village: Bob Young’s light display.

“We’re going to have the lights again this year, and we’re very excited,” Trustee Randall Rosenbaum said Tuesday night at the Board of Trustees meeting. “We’re going to work with him to stay within the local code.”

Since 1996, Young has decorated his house at 9 Sunnyvale Road with Christmas lights that are synchronized with music. The house now has over 250,000 lights and Young estimates that 10,000 people see the display annually. Although his home has become a popular attraction, it has come to be a bit of a nuisance for the village.

Last year, traffic going by Young’s home was so heavy that the Flower Hill Board of Trustees passed a law that turned Sunnyvale Road into a one-way street from Nov. 25 to Jan. 19 between 6 and 11 p.m. Parking on Sunnyvale Road and a couple of adjacent streets was also suspended during those times.

The Board of Trustees said the one-way street policy would continue this year, although Rosenbaum said that signs would need to be improved as many drivers did not see the temporary “Do Not Enter” sign that was in place last holiday season.

Aside from traffic, the board also discussed how to reduce the display’s decibel level. Last year neighbors complained that the music that accompanied the display played too loud and too late into the night. Rosenbaum said that when he, Trustee Frank Genese and Deputy Mayor Brian Herrington met with Young, they suggested that he restrict the music to an FM transmission.

Despite the issues that the light display has caused for the village, the trustees said they liked having the display and that Young was cordial during the meeting.

“We’ve got four months to deal with this,” Mayor Bob McNamara said.

A presentation from Peter Forman sought to convince the village to remain part of the Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management. Forman, who serves as the commissioner for the office, told the board that his office was preparing for Hurricanes Irma and Jose, the latter of which might affect the Northeast in the same way Sandy did in 2012.

“If we get hit by a [Category] 1, [Category] 2, it is not unlikely that we would not have power for three, four, six, possibly even eight weeks,” he said. “We are low-density neighborhoods, when they do [power] restorations, they’re going to do bang for buck, more density.”

The board was unsure if the program was worth the cost: an annual $1,000 fee plus $2 per house. At one point, village Administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer called the office a “duplicate service” because Flower Hill is also covered by Nassau County’s emergency management.

“It’s not a duplicate service,” Forman said. “We are all better together than apart.”

The board will make a decision on the office at a future date. Flower Hill is helping with hurricane recovery efforts in Texas, and Shatzkamer said the local government had received a lot of supplies that will be donated to the relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey.

“We’ve had an amazing response for Harvey,” she said.

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