A ‘Christmas miracle’: Plantation family with outlandish holiday decorations wins lawsuit

PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) - A Plantation family, whose tremendous Christmas display at their residence caused them to get sued by the city, won their legal battle, Thursday, just in time for the holidays.

This is a fight that has been going on for years and finally went to trial a few weeks ago. The judge on this case made her decision that the lights will go on this holiday season. “It’s not only a victory for our family, it’s a victory for all the residents in Plantation,” said Mark Hyatt.

The judge ruled on Thursday in favor of the Hyatt’s extravagant yearly Christmas display and claimed that the City of Plantation failed to show that the lights and ornaments were a public nuisance.

The Christmas display is so full, the Hyatt family's home is barely visible.
The Christmas display is so full, the Hyatt family’s home is barely visible.

Since the Hyatt’s began their display years ago, neighbors have complained that their street had become a traffic nightmare each holiday season. Once the City of Plantation looked into the matter, they argued that the surge in car traffic was an accident waiting to happen and explained the issue was about public safety, not Christmas.

The city filed a lawsuit in February of 2014.

“She vindicated our family,” Hyatt said. “She vindicated our ability to bring the Christmas spirit to many of the residents in South Florida.”

Hyatt said the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to shut his Christmas display down. It is partially why he’s decided to run for public office. “It’s the fiscal responsibility that’s connected to this,” Hyatt said, “the fact that the city council and the attorneys of this city and the mayor and the administration made up their mind to take a personal vendetta against my family, and ultimately against the residents and spend almost a half million dollars in taxpayer money for nothing.”

Since Broward Circuit Court Marina Garcia-Wood ruled that the City of Plantation failed to prove that the Hyatt’s display on their front yard created a public nuisance, you can expect to see the Hyatts’ holiday showcase this winter.

The Hyatt family's extravagant front entrance.
The Hyatt family’s extravagant front entrance.

“I’m thrilled. I’m absolutely thrilled,” said one neighbor. “The good guys win!”

Plantation Mayor Diane Veltri Bendekovic released the following statement that read in part, “It goes without saying I feel badly for the Plantation residents. It is my belief it isn’t fair for the city to incur police and public works expenses created by the display.”

Hyatt said that he will not seek reimbursement for what it cost him to win the lawsuit.

The holiday decorations feature more than 200,000 lights, a large colorful cast of characters and even appearances by Santa himself.

The Christmas display has been an annual tradition for the Hyatts since 2006.

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