TENAFLY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Homeowners in Tenafly were ordered to remove holiday lights on Christmas Eve.
Now, the couple and the mayor are at odds over why the decorations were dimmed, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported Friday.
Evenly spaced sand piles line both sides of Joyce Road. They sit as ghostly leftovers of luminaries installed on Christmas Eve as a gift to the neighborhood from Jason and Loran Alvator.
“We meant no offense to anybody,” Loran said.
The couple was shocked when Mayor Peter Rustin came to their home unannounced with a request that they called “grinch-like.”
“He said he had bad news for me. That I would have to come out and take them all down,” Jason said, “and then I did just that and my kids were pretty upset because they thought it was Santa’s runway for his sleigh.”
Mayor Rustin said that he did go to the house to make the demand.
“As I approached the front door I hesitated. I though maybe this is a job for the police,” he said.
The Alvators claim that Mayor Rustin said he had received a complaint from neighbors who found the display offensive.
“He said someone on the block had personally called him and complained that they found them to be offensive,” Jason explained.
Mayor Rustin told CBS 2’s Carlin that it had nothing to do with the display being offensive. The luminaries, he explained, had been installed without a town permit.
Neighbor Brian Buxton made the initial complaint.
“I never said I found these candles to be offensive,” Buxton said. “I contacted Mayor Rustin to ask if these are in compliance.”
If he had to do it again Mayor Rustin said he may have handled the situation differently.
“I would apologize for breaking up their Christmas Eve dinner,” he said.
Jason saids he has already gotten over the incident.
“It’s over. Let’s move on,” he said.
Mayor Rustin, the Alvators, and the Buxtons all share a New Year’s hope that this will blow over with no hard feelings. The Alvators do plan to install luminaries next year, but said that they will go to borough hall to get a permit.
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