Flower Hill village board approves permit for Sunnyvale Lane light display

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Flower Hill Board of Trustees moved forward with approving a permit for the Sunnyvale Lane light display. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

Flower Hill trustees on Monday formally approved a homeowner’s Christmas light display that has led to angry disputes in recent years.

However, the homeowner, Robert Young, of 9 Sunnyvale Lane, said he is unhappy with the revised costs incurred for traffic control, which as part of the arrangement he will pay for. 

Young said in an email that the village board originally quoted him a price of $3,800 for hired traffic control employees but a few days before the meeting, he was emailed a revised price of $4,800.

Trustee Randall Rosenbaum said in an email to Young that the new price was based on the schedule Young provided during the permit process.

Young responded in an email that the revised price is “excessive” and would mean the traffic control workers were being paid $35 per hour.

Rosenbaum said that the high rate was due to their working outside of normal working hours. He suggested that if Young wanted to meet the $3,800 price then he could cut down the hours he scheduled for the display.

Young has been putting up his Christmas display for more than two decades, and his house has become something of a tourist attraction during the holiday season. But the display’s popularity created traffic problems, which led to the village stepping in.

In July, the village board passed a law regulating lighting displays and requiring permits for certain displays. Before it passed, Young said that the law would place severe restrictions on his display and sully a holiday tradition.

On Monday, the village attorney, Jeffrey Blinkoff, asked that the board allow for potential schedule changes if there were to be inclement weather or some other type of cancellation.

Blinkoff also said that if less is spent than the requested fees, the excess will  be refunded to Young. If more is spent, Young will be required to pay.

The agreement between Young and the board states that the lights will be turned off by 9 p.m. and the north and south side lights are not to incorporate music.

Young will also put out a mailbox for “Letters to Santa” as well as a collection box for Christmas Magic, an organization that gathers toys for children in need.

He was not in attendance at the meeting, but the board moved forward with approving the permit for the lights. It had tentatively approved them in November.

In addition to the light exhibit, traffic will be increased with the upcoming closure of the Webster Avenue bridge, which was also announced at the meeting.

Ronnie Shatzkamer, the village administrator, said the deteriorating bridge will be closed for approximately six weeks beginning on Dec. 10. The construction will be completed as part of the LIRR modernization project.

Mayor Robert McNamara said work will be conducted Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Over the past several years, [the bridge] has gone from being a 15-ton bridge to a 10-ton bridge, and now it is a three-ton bridge,” Shatzkamer said.

She added that sometime between 2021 and 2024, the bridge will be taken down and reconstructed “and that won’t be six weeks.”

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