Ordinance would regulate neighborhood attractions - KCTV5

Prairie Village ordinance would regulate neighborhood attractions

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS (KCTV) -

The city of Prairie Village, KS, has started to write a neighborhood attraction ordinance - an ordinance one neighbor said might put an end to his popular Christmas light display.

"I started in 1968 with a string of lights around the front door. That's what people like to see - something different every year," Mike Babick said.

Even in June a person doesn't have to look very hard in Babick's home to see Christmas isn't too far away.

"After 50 years of putting up the display and taking it down, there's been no ordinances, there is no need for an ordinance," Babick said. "This ordinance is focused toward Mike Babick, me, they're trying to shut me down."

The Prairie Village City Council, though, sees things differently. Councilman Andrew Wang said the ordinance – that is still being written by city staff - is about much more than Babick's display.

"It's not about any particular event or attraction, it's about our wanting to be proactive about neighborhood displays or attractions," Wang said.

The neighborhood attraction ordinance would require people hosting light displays, concerts, or other events in residential areas to get a city permit.

"It's about neighborhood livability and being a good neighbor," Wang said. "More than waiting for a particular need for it, we just need to be out in front of it as a city council who wants to protect the Prairie Village way of life, if you will."

The councilman hopes the ordinance, if passed, will be fair for event hosts and their neighbors.

"We're still developing the criteria for the ordinance. In general, it's meant to protect the way of life or the neighborhood feel," Wang said.

Babick's Christmas display draws thousands of visitors every year.

KCTV5's Justin Schmidt spoke with neighbors off camera Tuesday who said the crowds tend to get out of hand. Those neighbors said they're glad to see the city doing something about their problem.

Babick said he'll keep the lights up, even if he has to get a permit.

"That's the giant Christmas present I give to people every year, or try to if I'm allowed to do it," he said.

Over the years the city has tried to keep peace in the neighborhood by adding more patrols during the holiday season and even creating more parking for those who want to see Babick's display.

This potential ordinance is still in the very early stages. City officials said they hope to write an ordinance that is fair to neighbors and to anyone holding an event in a residential neighborhood that would attract extra traffic and people - including anything from holiday lighting displays, a concert or a fundraiser.

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