Central Florida family fights HOA over Christmas lights

Warning letter requests homeowner to tone down display

By Loren Korn - Reporter , Ashleigh Coran - Executive Producer

DeBARY, Fla. - With just days left until Christmas, a Volusia County family is in the middle of a holiday light fight.

The family is vowing to keep the cheer bright in front of their DeBary home, despite a recent warning from their new homeowners association that challenged their decorative display.

"People, kids, come here all the time," homeowner Gary Ruot said. "It makes kids happy."

Ruot said he takes his decorations to heart. As each year passes, the display gets bigger, and so does its popularity around the neighborhood.

"It's a great time," Ruot told News 6.

Ruot said the lights have become a local attraction, with spectators from around the area stopping by to catch a glimpse of "falling snow" in the Sunshine State.

But the Christmas cheer was compromised recently when Ruot said he received a letter from his HOA that discussed the aesthetics and financial value of his home.

He said the letter ultimately requested that the Ruot's remove the decorations.

"I don't think it's going to cause a lot of problems or hurt anyone's feelings and not ruin the property value," Ruot said. "It's putting smiles on people's faces."

Ruot told News 6 that one of the most important smiles was from his son, who was diagnosed with Leber's disease last year. He can only see through his peripheral vision.

"I decided to make the American flag because he's very patriotic," Ruot told News 6. "It's really going to stand out with bright LED lights. That way, he can see it."

Ruot said he's going to stand by his spirit of Christmas and he's insistent that he'd rather pay a fine than tear down his tradition.

"If the kids have a smile on their face," Ruot said, "I'll deal with it afterwards."

News 6 has reached out to the HOA for comment but has not heard back from the organization.

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