A one-way street for holiday lights

Stephen Romano

The Village of Flower Hill Board of Trustees on Monday passed a law turning Sunnyvale Road into a one-way street during designated dates and hours to ease traffic stopping to see a house’s holiday light show.

“We walked the route and decided that it’s the most logical way to do it,” Deputy Mayor Robert McNamara said. “We’re going to help move the traffic along.”

Sunnyvale Road will turn into a one-way street from Nov. 25 to Jan. 19, between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

The board also passed laws suspending parking on Sunnyvale Road, Wood Valley Road and Cherrywood Road and prohibiting right turns when traveling north at the intersection of Wood Valley Road during the same hours.

“We worked together with the residents and everyone involved to come up with this schedule and we think it’s best,” Mayor Elaine Phillips said. 

The three laws are a response to residents’ complaints about the traffic caused by resident Bob Young’s lighting display at 9 Sunnyvale Road, which he said, attracts around 10,000 visitors every year. 

Young, who began decorating his house in 1996, continues the tradition to honor his daughter, Marie, who died in 2013. 

The house features over 250,000 lights synchronized through music and generated with a computer program, Young said.

Nassau County Police Officer Carlos Rivera, who was invited by the board to answer residents’ questions, said the Police Department will enforce the laws and that “safety is paramount.”

“If people are coming north and south and it creates an unsafe condition, you call us,” Rivera said. “We will go and we will enforce.”

According to the Village Code, Young is required to keep the music below 50 decibels, but residents said in the past it has been closer to 90.

“As the village, we are responsible for enforcing that,” McNamara said. “We will summons him, summons him and summons him.”

Rivera urged residents to call the police if they believe the sound is exceeding Village Code.

“If it’s loud, call us,” Rivera said. “We’re not going to warn him and allow him to continue doing it. We’re going to make it stop. We were all kids. We all wanted to go through the neighborhood to see that one house, so as long as it’s at a reasonable level of noise, that’s acceptable.”

There will be an increased police presence during the peak time of the holiday season to assure drivers are following the laws, Rivera said. 

Village Administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer said residents will be issued parking passes for guests to park on the street and not be given citations during the no-parking hours.

McNamara said the board will be seeking feedback from the residents who live on the street to guarantee the laws are effective.

To ease tensions, Young said, he offered  40,000 incandescent and LED lights to his neighbors to decorate their homes.

“Join us this year in making our neighborhood the brightest light show in New York to celebrate Marie’s spirit,” Young said in the letter to his neighbors. “Let us all embrace the spirit of Marie’s life and protect it, not destroy it.”


By Stephen Romano

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