PLANTATION (CBSMiami) – When the lights come on for real on Friday at the “Hyatt Extreme Christmas,” it is one of the most visually impressive holiday displays that you will see.
The creator of the display, Mark Hyatt, says it brings happiness and smiles to all who see it.
But the city of Plantation wants it to stay in the dark.
Hyatt tries to make each year’s holiday display a little different.
There are more than 200,000 lights and decorations at the Hyatt Extreme Christmas. What stays the same, he says, is the reaction from people who take all of it in.
“With such ugliness in the world if somebody has the opportunity to come and enjoy something as bright and beautiful as this, it’s worth all the time and effort we put into it,” Hyatt said.
The display is up for about a month and he’s busy putting the finishing touches on this year’s version, including some new items – like a sleigh and reindeer donated to him. He says kids will be able to climb inside and get their pictures taken.
“What we create here are memories,” he said.
But according to the city of Plantation, what the display also creates is a safety hazard and a mess.
In a lawsuit filed by the city, they call the display a carnival like atmosphere with excessive noise, trash, parking issues and safety problems for neighbors on the Hyatt’s cul-de-sac.
Part of the city’s lawsuit claims, “The nature and size of the Hyatt Extreme Christmas renders it incompatible with the limited access, single family residential neighborhood in which it is located.”
Hyatt didn’t want to get into a war of words with the city.
“A lot of people support what we do and I really don’t think that the thousands and thousands of dollars that the city has spent to keep people from enjoying a tradition just doesn’t make any sense to me,” he said.
On his website a section reads, “Due to government interference, the Hyatt’s face a daily fine of $250.00, a lawsuit and closed roads leading to their display.”
People passing by Monday think these lights are needed now more than ever.
“Around Christmas you need things like this especially in light of what’s going on in the world right now,” said Marilyn Ritchie. “This brings a lot of hope to people. Children love it and it’s just really great for the community.”
Hyatt couldn’t agree more.
“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share what we do here with the community,” he said. “It’s our gift back to the community.”
Court records show there’s a hearing on setting a trial date on the issue coming up in early December but the Hyatt’s are focused on their display and the joy it brings to people who see it.
They also say their charitable efforts – having kids write holiday letters to military overseas and bringing canned goods for the needy – do a tremendous good in the community.