No end in sight to Flower Hill holiday light dispute

No end in sight to Flower Hill holiday light dispute
Robert Young speaks before the Flower Hill Board of Trustees on Monday. (Photo by Luke Torrance)

Summer will arrive this month but in Flower Hill, it’s still looking a lot like Christmas.

The item at the top of the agenda for the village Board of Trustees meeting on Monday was the proposed lights and exhibition law, which would primarily affect the Christmas light display of Robert Young, located at 9 Sunnyvale Road.

The law would require homes that have “illumination of an outside area” that resulted in 20 or more people visiting on three days within a 10-day period to obtain a permit from the village. While it does not specifically mention Christmas lights, it would notably affect the light display of Young, whose relationship with the village has been adversarial since last Christmas.

The law was introduced at the last meeting, and public comment continued on Monday. Before discussion could even begin, village Attorney Jeffrey Blinkoff said that the law would be tabled until July since not all board members had had time to review changes to the law. Among the modifications were that a $500 deposit would be required and the permit fee would be determined by the Board of Trustees.

Young said that no amount of modifications would make the law agreeable to him.

“I think the law is a very bad law, and I think it is discriminating against me personally,” he said.

Young’s main issue with the law was that a homeowner who is required to obtain the permit would also be on the hook for a consultant.

“If the village does need to reach out to a consultant because an exhibition is going to create a certain amount of traffic that in the board’s mind, could create danger … that the village could hire a consultant, and depending on the cost, if deemed appropriate, that could be billed to the owner,” Blinkoff said.

Young had submitted a plan to the board for next Christmas (and had it available at the meeting), where he outlined how long the lights would be up and what nights the music would be played in conjunction with the display. Included with the plan was a response from Blinkoff, but Young said he hadn’t received any “specific comments” from the rest of the board on the plan.

He also said the problem last year was the workers the village hired to control traffic on Sunnyvale Road.

He said “2016 was fine, but last year it went completely off the rails,” saying one employee was harassing motorists who stopped to view the display.

The board also adjourned a law that would allow the building superintendent discretion in construction permit extensions.

A permit was approved for a fireworks display at the North Hempstead Country Club on July 29.

The board spent much of the rest of the meeting receiving updates on several infrastructure projects throughout the village. Mayor Robert McNamara said that the county was still working on a drainage issue regarding Middle Neck Road.

Port Washington Boulevard is also due for an upgrade, although the road is currently under Nassau County’s control. The board discussed the possibility of adding a bike lane to the road, but the village would not be able to implement that by itself while the road was owned by the county.

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