ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found a showdown in the suburbs over a skeleton decorated for St. Patrick’s Day, and now a homeowner could be punished.
But that homeowner is fighting city hall, so on Tuesday, the I-Team went there with him.
The battle revolves around a very, very big skeleton in Jeff Taylor’s front yard on Westover in Rocky River.
He decorates the skeleton for holidays year-round, and again, it’s now part of a display for St. Patrick’s Day.
The city just gave Taylor an order to take it down, but he says, “no way.”
“The little kids that walk by my house all smile, laugh, wave, talk to him. I don’t care if some adult down the street doesn’t like it,” Taylor told the I-Team.
The I-Team sat in on a meeting Taylor had with the building commissioner.
“You have very unhappy neighbors,” the commissioner said.
A city warning letter says the skeleton violates a town ordinance.
Taylor wondered, how? He drilled down to the fine print, arguing, “You’re going to try to shoehorn it in with the word ‘etcetera.’”
“We are,” the building commissioner answered. “We have set this before the law director and he is going to make the determination.”
“Because a couple people decide they’re going to complain, doesn’t mean I have to stop what I’m doing when it’s not illegal,” Taylor said.
He shared photos with the skeleton decorated for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and even Mardi Gras.
A couple of neighbors we approached didn’t want to talk about it.
But, the man next door said, “never had a problem with it. Find it interesting that you even bring it up. I wasn’t aware anybody was upset.”
Ultimately, the case could end up in Rocky River Court. If something doesn’t get worked out, Taylor could face fines for that skeleton.
Law Director Michael O’Shea says he’s looking at a couple of city ordinances that could apply, but he’d rather not have to take this before a judge.
Before leaving city hall, Taylor also said, “I will not take it down until a judge tells me I have to take it down.”
So, for now, he’s not giving in and the skeleton is not coming down.
Taylor says he plans to go to the next council meeting to challenge town leaders. He says he’d consider taking the skeleton down, now and then, as long as he can put it back up for the next holiday.
“I don’t get it. Thought this was America,” he said.
The warning letter says Taylor has until next month to take down the skeleton, but he’s already creating an Easter costume for it.
Expect more developments soon.